Retail Finance Execs Meet For Benchmarking, Hot Topics

This summer, RILA brought together chief accounting officers, treasurers, and controllers for its Finance Leaders Council (FLC) meeting at Target Corporation's headquarters in Minneapolis. The annual two-day meeting is an opportunity for retail industry finance leaders to connect with peers and discuss top-of-mind issues facing the industry. 

An executive spotlight session featuring Target's Chief Finance Officer Cathy Smith provided insight into the ongoing transformation of the retail industry and the evolving important role of finance leaders in supporting companies' efforts.  

This year's meeting featured relevant updates from RILA's government affairs experts on current public policy issues significantly impacting retailers including trade, payments, and tax policy. In addition, RILA's Senior EVP and General Counsel Deborah White and MultiState Associations CEO and Principal Joe Crosby provided an update and insights on the US Supreme Court's recent decision in the South Dakota v. Wayfair case. For more information on the case and RILA's efforts, read the Wall Street Journal's feature here. Attendees also heard from FLC sponsor Ernst & Young (EY) on the hot topics in international and state tax, led by EY Tax Partners Jill Schwieterman and Jason Phillips. 


Attendees heard directly from several Target finance executives including Bob Harrison, Matthew Liegel, Katy Hill, Laurie Kwapick, and Michael Ryan in a case study presentation on lessons learned from an early adopter of Financial Accounting Standards Board Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) 842 (Leases). Representatives from EY's Financial and Accounting Advisory Services, Bob Malinowski and Julie Kunkel, also led discussions on ASC 842 including impairment, separating lease/non-lease components, embedded leases, and practical considerations for adoption and implementation. 

Mindy Dragisich, partner in EY's assurance practice and Katie Neibert, senior manager of assurance at EY provided an update on SEC comment letter and restatement themes. Ms. Neibert later shared a presentation on Service Organization Controls Report (SOC 1) and the audit implications of qualified reports.  


RILA members often find the opportunity to discuss issues of importance candidly with industry peers to be one of the most valuable aspects of attending member meetings. The FLC meeting featured two robust benchmarking sessions covering a variety of topics, including automation and technology in finance, NGOs and sustainability disclosures, hiring and retaining qualified and diverse staff, the GAAP/non-GAAP impact of tax reform, and more. 

To learn more about this meeting or to get involved with RILA's Finance Leaders Council, please contact RILA Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Kathleen McGuigan

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