December 4, 2017
Executive Profile

Tavolieri climbs Deloitte's ranks to Hartford managing partner

HBJ Photo | John Stearns
HBJ Photo | John Stearns
Richard Tavolieri has spent all of his 27-year accounting and audit career at Deloitte & Touche LLP's Hartford office, for which the company recently made him office managing partner.

VIEW: Executive Profile: Richard Tavolieri

Richard Tavolieri

Managing partner, Hartford office of Deloitte & Touche LLP.

Highest education: Bachelor's degree in accounting, UConn, 1989.

Executive insights: "There is never enough time to get everything done, and doing things over can be costly. So take the time to get it right the first time."

Richard Tavolieri joined the audit group at Deloitte & Touche LLP in 1990 right out of UConn thinking he'd become a senior auditor in three years, pass the CPA exam, then figure out what he wanted to do.

"I guess 27 years later I've probably figured out what I want to do — I'm still here," said Tavolieri, who became managing partner of Deloitte's Hartford office in September.

In the role, he oversees one of the largest accounting, tax, advisory and consulting firms in the region, with a professional staff of about 250 in CityPlace I. He's responsible for Deloitte's growth in Hartford in addition to client services, internal operations and corporate citizenship. He succeeds John Curran, an advisory partner to clients until he retires in May.

Tavolieri's Deloitte ascension followed a tiered path of auditor, senior auditor, manager, senior manager, partner, office audit leader and finally managing partner — all in audit. He retains his office audit leader role, and he has served as Deloitte's lead audit partner for marquee Connecticut companies and has significant experience advising executives on complex transactions such as acquisitions, divestitures, carve-outs, mergers and IPOs.

While he never diverged from auditing or left Hartford and represents mostly Connecticut companies, clients include those with multiple national and international locations. They've been companies large and small, in industries including retail, consumer business, financial services and manufacturing. The work has provided variety and learning that's held his interest, he said.

"The Hartford marketplace is very diverse, and I think a lot of the professionals that come here, they like coming to our practice because you're not pigeonholed into just one industry," said Tavolieri, 50.

Another plus is a quality of life in Hartford that affords the ability to catch a child's school performance or other events easier than in larger markets with longer commutes. He's grateful to witness important events in the lives of the two children he and his wife, Dawn — also a CPA whom he met when she worked at Deloitte and married in 1998 — adopted from Guatemala.

The children, a boy and girl, were adopted when they were about 9 months and 18 months old, respectively. Their son is now 13 and daughter 12. The Tavolieris visited them often at their foster families until each could be brought home.

"It was very difficult to leave to go back on the plane, but you knew they were in good hands," said Tavolieri, whose weekends are filled with typical youth sporting events in and around their Marlborough home.

Tavolieri also works to guide other young people, those graduating college whom Deloitte can develop into the audit and tax professionals of the future. Deloitte looks for the best and brightest, said Tavolieri, who spends a lot of time recruiting, and tries to convey the toolbox of learning experiences graduates can build at Deloitte while tapping the latest accounting software and other technology.

Ten years ago, for example, an auditor couldn't download a company's entire trial balance and subject every journal entry to testing, as can occur today, he said. Today, that technology frees up resources to serve more clients and perform a more efficient and high-quality audit, he added.

Technology also allows immense data analysis and predictive modeling by the firm's consultants and actuaries.

"I think with a lot of our clients, we're using (technology) to give them a window into their business they might not have had before," Tavolieri said.

Technology can help growth throughout the company, he said, seeing growth potential for Deloitte in Connecticut's middle market and family held companies, not just among larger clients.

Tavolieri's view of the Hartford market is optimistic. The recently passed state budget and other legislative moves created some stability, he said.

"Are we out of the woods yet? Probably not, but the state is definitely making some progress," he said.

Companies he talks with say they need qualified manufacturing and trades people. Filling those positions would help the economy, Tavolieri said.

"I think that the economy is stable and I think it will get better," he said.

In a statement, Sam Silvers, Deloitte's East region leader, said Tavolieri brings a strong affinity for Hartford to his new role.

"He understands both the commercial and civic fabric that define the region, and he will be outstanding in delivering Deloitte's capabilities to the area," Silvers said.

Tavolieri, who grew up in Vernon and whose father was a career accountant at the former Hamilton Standard/Hamilton Sundstrand, hopes as managing partner he can leave his mark on Deloitte and, like his predecessors, make improvements.

That mentality was instilled in him years ago at Deloitte.

"The audit partners are always saying, just what we did last year is not good enough. You want to make it better, you want to make it more improved for the next generation that's coming," Tavolieri said.

Check out a video clip of Richard Tavolieri's interview at hartfordbusiness.com.

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