Financial Officers, Tax Executives & Internal Auditors

Network with restaurant tax, finance and audit professionals.


About the Financial Officers, Tax Executives & Internal Auditors Executive Study Group

The National Restaurant Association's Financial Officers, Tax Executives & Internal Auditors Executive Study Group delivers information essential to your daily workload and long-term career. Whether you need guidance on tax changes, controlling the costs of health benefits or structuring franchise financing, this group is your window into what fellow restaurant industry leaders are doing and which strategies work best.

Attendance Policy

Attendance at our annual conference is open to restaurant operators and those who work for restaurant or hospitality companies. Consultants who are neither restaurant operators nor suppliers can attend under the consultant category. Product or services providers must sponsor the conference in order to attend. Questions? Contact Laura Chadwick,  Financial Officers, Tax Executives & Internal Auditors Program Director.

Earn Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Credits

According to standards set by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), the programming for our Internal Audit track is estimated to generate 13.8 credits, programming for our Tax track is estimated to generate 12 credits and programming for our Finance track is estimated to generate 10.8 credits.


Bob Lowe
Heartland Payment Systems
Vice President, Payment Products
Chris Boyles
The Steritech Institute
Vice President
Brandon Cash Carlton
National Tax Principal
David DesRoches
Tax Partner
Marianna Dyson
Covington & Burling LLP
Carolyn Rashby
Covington & Burling LLP
Of Counsel
Lucille Toniolo
Client Director
Helen Foster
Davis Wright Tremaine
Partner, Technology + Privacy & Security
Thomas Plotkin
Covington & Burling LLP
Janet Smith
Senior Director
David Landsberg
Panda Restaurant Group
Chief Financial Officer
Frank Henigman
Jay Schulman
National Leader - Blockchain Services
Lisa Haffer
Tax Partner
Matt Walker
National Restaurant Association
VP Global Affairs
Mike Chittenden
Covington & Burling LLP
Special Counsel
Mike Gottlieb
Global Leader, Restaurant Practice
Rayth Myers
Senior Manager, National Tax
Ronak Patel
Tax Senior Manager
Landon Julius
Director, Transaction Tax
Bryan Thompson
Director, Security, Privacy & Risk Services
Robert Linder
Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar
Chief Financial Officer
Dennis Kreta
Rubio's Restaurants
Director of Internal Audit
Carrie Shagat
Assurance Partner
John Madonna
Darden Restaurants
SVP, Corporate Controller
Erle Dardick
Monkey Group
Founder & Off-Premise Evangelist
Charity Manley
Steve LaValle
Managing Partner
Findley Gillespie
Moss Adams
Hudson Riehle
National Restaurant Association
SVP, Research & Knowledge


Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Internal Auditors Track
Day One
7:30 a.m.: Registration and Breakfast
8:30 a.m.: Welcome & Company Introductions
Internal Auditors Executive Study Group Co-Chairs & Laura Chadwick, Program Director, National Restaurant Association
9 a.m.: Auditing Third Party Delivery
Dennis Kreta, Director of Internal Audit at Rubio's Restaurants, Inc.
10 a.m.: PCAOB Oversight Update
This session updates you on the PCAOB and its impact on audits. You'll learn the PCAOB's current expectations of public registrants and their control environments, hot topics and areas that the PCAOB is laser-focused on, and what your auditors will be looking for in your control environment. You'll also gain a better understanding of the pressures your auditors face from the PCAOB, and become better able to process, respond to, and anticipate the higher regulatory thresholds it now demands.
Speaker: Charity Manley, Partner, KPMG
11 a.m.: Meet, Greet, Break
11:15 a.m.: Foundations for a Data-Driven Internal Audit Function: Data Visualization and How to Move Beyond Daily Sales Reports
Learn about the power of visual analytics and how to harness this power in modernizing your internal audit functions to focus on data-driven audits at your organization using exciting new software tools. 
Speaker: Findley Gillespie, Partner, Moss Adams
12:15 p.m. – 1 p.m.: Internal Audit professionals -- Lunch
*** Internal Auditors’ programming continues at 1 p.m. with joint sessions for all tracks. ***
Joint Programming (for Internal Audit, Tax & Finance Professionals)
Day One
1 p.m.: Welcome to the Forefront
Attendee introductions and Overview of National Restaurant Association Initiatives
1:45 p.m.: Restaurant Industry Outlook & Trends Where is the restaurant industry headed? Get the latest data on current and upcoming trends reshaping our industry and segments — in sales, technology, food and beverage, and product delivery — as well as insights critical to your decision-making. Speaker: Hudson Riehle, Senior Vice President, Research & Knowledge, National Restaurant Association
2:45 p.m.: CFO Panel
Moderator: Mike Gottlieb, Global Leader, Restaurant Practice, EY
Panelists: Frank Henigman, SVP/CFO, Rubio’s; David Landsberg, CFO, Panda Restaurant Group; Robert Linder, CFO, Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar
3:45 p.m.: Meet, Greet, Break
Hosted by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and California Restaurant Association Educational Foundation
4 p.m.: Robotic Process Automation in Tax, Finance and Audit Functions
Speakers: Steve LaValle, Managing Partner, WonderBotz; and John Madonna, Senior Vice President, Corporate Controller, Darden Restaurants
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.: Opening Reception
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Internal Auditors Track
Day Two
6 a.m. – 6:45 a.m.: AM Run/Walk
Start your morning with a run/walk through Costa Mesa.
7:30 a.m.: Breakfast
8:30 a.m.: Panel Discussion: Auditing Your Culture
This panel explores a new auditing best practice: evaluating organizational culture. You'll learn the challenges, focus areas, tools, and techniques involved in auditing corporate culture. You'll also hear about specific controls and issues that culture audits can address, such as building a consistent customer experience, cash management, inventory management, and employee theft. Plus, you'll learn strategies for gaining management's acceptance and support for culture audits.
Moderators: Janet Smith and Carrie Shagat, BDO
9:30 a.m.: Corporate and Franchise Audit: Best Practices Panel
10:30 a.m.: Meet, Greet, Break
11 a.m.: In-Depth Briefing: The California Consumer Privacy Act (CaCPA) of 2018 and Implications for Restaurants 
When California’s recently passed data privacy law — the toughest in the nation — goes into effect January 2020, restaurants across the country will be impacted, regardless of their location. This session provides a deep understanding of CaCPA, its implications for the restaurant industry, and what you can do to prepare.
Speaker: Helen Foster, Partner, Davis Wright Tremaine
Noon: Lunch
1 p.m.:  Protecting Your Brand: A Food Safety Audit Program
Food safety issues can damage your company’s brand. This session identifies risks, explores the differences between internal and third-party audit approaches, presents the data a food safety audit program can provide, and shows you how to structure a program that delivers maximum value.
Speaker: Chris Boyles, M.S., CP-FS, Vice President, The Steritech Institute
2 p.m.: Cyber Threat Landscape 2019
Cyber threats continue to evolve and grow at a rapid-fire pace. This session discusses the major cyber threats to restaurants and how to identify and defend yourself and your organization from attacks. You'll learn about today's Cyber Threat Landscape, what internal auditors need to know about cyber threats, and resources that can help you mitigate threats.
Speaker: Bryan Thompson, Director of Security, Privacy and Risk Services, RSM US LLP
3 p.m.: Meet, Greet, Break
3:30 p.m.: Operator Roundtable Session
This closed session — for operators only — will discuss issues involving Senior & Middle level, and Entry-level personnel.
4:45 p.m.: Business Meeting
Financial Officers Track
Day Two
6 a.m. - 6:45 a.m.: AM Run/Walk
Start your morning with a run/walk through Costa Mesa.
7:30 a.m.: Breakfast
8:30 a.m.: State of Pay: Update on Current Trends in Payments
Speaker: Rob Lowe, Vice President, Payment Products, Heartland Payment Systems
9:30 a.m.: Blockchain & You
Everybody's heard about it. Hardly anyone understands it. Fortunately, Jay Schulman is one who does. Blockchain expert Schulman explains this emerging technology, as well as its growing application and impact on finance and other business functions, various industries, the restaurant industry, and especially your restaurant -- today and in the future.
Speaker: Jay Schulman, National Leader, Blockchain Services, RSM US LLP
10:30 a.m.: Meet, Greet, Break
11 a.m.: How Data-Driven Marketing Improves Budget Decision-Making and Results
How do you measure your marketing ROI? Join this session to learn how brands use data to measure the impact of their marketing as well as their sources for determining where and how much to spend across marketing and media channels. You’ll learn how to overcome four key barriers to marketing budget decision-making; understand the practices used by confident marketing budget decision-makers; and see how other companies leverage data-driven decision-making to drive their business.
Speaker: Lucille Toniolo, Client Director, Nielsen
Noon: Lunch
1 p.m.: #MeToo & More: Addressing Sexual Harassment and other Workplace Issues
Attorneys from Covington's employment practice have been involved in several high-profile investigations related to #MeToo, workplace culture, and diversity and inclusion issues. This session presents risk mitigation strategies for restaurants in today's workplace environment, including practical steps your organization can take to reduce and proactively monitor risk related to executive misconduct, workplace culture problems, and claims regarding a lack of institutional diversity and equity.
Speakers: Carolyn Rashby, Of Counsel; Tom Plotkin, Associate; and 
Marianna Dyson, Of Counsel, Covington & Burlington
2 p.m.: Get Smart On Taxes: Top 10 Issues for Finance Professionals
Tax issues often arise from issues originating in the financial side of a company. This session provides tips and tricks to help you recognize tax issues most frequently seen in the restaurant industry, address them, and alert your company’s tax peers.
Speakers: David DesRoches, Tax Partner; Lisa Haffer, Tax Partner; Ronak Patel, Tax Senior Manager, BDO
3 p.m.: Meet, Greet, Break
3:30 p.m.: Finance Roundtable Session
This closed session — for operators only — will discuss key issues impacting finance professionals at restaurant brands.
4:45 p.m.: Joint Tax & Finance Business Meeting
Tax Executives Track
Day Two
6 a.m. – 6:45 a.m.: AM Run/Walk 
Start your morning with a run/walk through Costa Mesa.
7:30 a.m.: Breakfast
8:30 a.m.: National Tip Reporting Compliance
Ms. Wise will review the IRS developments related to tip reporting compliance, including an update on new initiatives, tips vs. service charges, changes to the Form 8027 and status of the TRAC program. 
Speaker: Tammy Wise, Senior Program Analyst, Internal Revenue Service (Please note: Ms. Wise’s participation may change due to factors beyond her control. We will endeavor to notify you in the event she is unable to participate.)
9:30 a.m.: Wayfair for Restaurants: The Supreme Court and Sales Taxes
The impact of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on South Dakota vs. Wayfair, Inc. (June 21, 2018) extends way beyond online home furnishings sales. This session will help you understand the ruling’s ongoing implications for our industry so you can better protect your company. The discussion will cover buyer and seller tax issues, new rules on “nexus” and potential exposure from a newly-formed nexus, effects on state and local taxes, relevant new state laws, and how other restaurants are changing in response to Wayfair
Speaker: Landon Julius, Director, Transaction Tax, Ryan
10:30 a.m.: Meet, Greet, Break
11 a.m.: Tax Reform Reflux: Compensation and Benefits Heartburn
Tax reform reduced or eliminated many employer deductions for fringe benefits.  This session will review the disallowance treatment of expenses for transportation fringe benefits (including parking), company cafeterias, section 119 meals, business entertainment meals, and other entertainment activities.   
Speakers: Marianna Dyson and Mike Chittenden, Covington & Burlington Noon
Noon: Lunch
1 p.m.: Legislative Tax Update: Federal Tax Reform
Learn about recent developments and the state-of-play on federal tax legislative issues impacting the restaurant industry. We’ll review the current status of the Qualified Improvement Property (QIP) restaurant depreciation glitch, the FICA tax tip credit, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, the deductibility of meals provided to employees, and other issues.
Speaker: Matt Walker, Vice President, Government Affairs, National Restaurant Association
1:30 p.m.: Accounting Methods: Revenue Recognition, Lease Accounting & Depreciation
Restaurant tax departments are facing a number of important new tax and accounting regulatory changes in 2019, many emerging from tax reform implementation and new accounting standards. With a particular, timely focus on planning and compliance, this session reviews the new rules and regulations that affect our industry, including those relevant to completing your company’s 2018 tax return.
Speaker: Rayth Myers, Senior Manager, National Tax, EY
2:30 p.m.: Meet, Greet, Break
2:45 p.m.: Tax Roundtable Session
This closed session — for operators only — will cover issues in federal and state tax audits and provide an update on tax reform implementation.
4:45 p.m.: Joint Tax & Finance Business Meeting
Thursday, June 27, 2019
Joint Tax, Finance and Audit Sessions
Day Three
7:30 a.m.: Breakfast
8:30 a.m.: National Restaurant Association General Legislative Update
Get briefed on the political climate in Washington, D.C., and the status of key, non-tax-related restaurant industry federal priorities -- including overtime regulations, joint employer issues, workforce issues, apprenticeships, wage issues, immigration and visas, and more.
Speaker: Matt Walker, Vice President, Government Affairs, National Restaurant Association
9:30 a.m.: Getting on Top of Off-Premise Opportunities: Setting a Strategy for Success
How can you maximize revenue from America's hottest restaurant trend? This session shows you the way by explaining the five pillars of success for off-premise business -- from restaurant takeout to delivery and catering. You'll get a holistic strategy for winning off-premise business, including insights into consumer expectations for delivery orders placed through third-party marketplaces.
Speaker: Erle Dardick, founder and off-premise evangelist at Monkey Group, MonkeyMedia Software, Catering Institute, Off Premise Insights, and ezCater 
10:30 a.m.: Panel Discussion: Best Practices on Third-Party Delivery Issues in Audit, Finance and Tax
Speaker: Dennis Kreta, Director of Internal Audit at Rubio's Restaurants, Inc.
11 a.m.: Closing Remarks


National Restaurant Association Member*: $499
National Restaurant Association Non-Member*: $799

Consultants: We now have a consultant category for those attendees who are neither restaurant operators or suppliers. Please choose this category when registering.

Sending a team? National Restaurant Association members receive a discount on registration. If you're sending your team, contact to add their names and email addresses to your company roster to ensure they receive the member rate.

Operator cancellation policy: Cancellations received by 11:59 p.m. ET on March 15, 2019 will be fully refunded. Cancellations between March 16 and April 12, 2019 will be assessed a 50% administration fee. Cancellations after April 12 will not receive a refund.

Conference Hotel

The conference is being held at:
Hilton Orange County/Costa Mesa
3050 Bristol St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 540-7000
Please note: The hotel room block is SOLD OUT. 
Additional rooms have been secured across the street at:
Crowne Plaza Costa Mesa
3131 Bristol St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 557-3000
Room rate: $179-199/night + tax

Registration for the conference does not guarantee you a room reservation; you are still required to make your own reservation via your registration confirmation email. Please register for the conference before you make your room reservation.


If you are a product or service provider, you must sponsor the conference in order to attend. For available sponsorship opportunities, contact Deb Sas, vice president, sponsorship and engagement.