Partner Biographies

Richard K. Babush, CPA, JD, Howard F. Neiman, CPA, Chris Clayton, CPA, JD, Barry Klein, CPA,
Jeffrey G. Olson, CPA, MTX
, Stephen M. Rogut, CPA, James W. Lahm, CPA/ABV, Stafford W. Huff, CPA,
Stephen J. Nadeau, CPA, MTX
, L. Gill Fenerty, CPA,, Carryn Whiteford, CPA

Richard K. Babush, CPA, JD
Tax Partner

Babush, Neiman, Kornman & Johnson’s reputation for excellent service is due, in part, to the efforts of Dick Babush. As head of the firm’s tax department, Dick brings leadership, knowledge, and effective strategy to the complex financial matters of high net worth individuals and closely held businesses. Dick’s legal education and 50+ years of accounting experience and knowledge allow him to provide exceptional services when dealing with complex tax issues. He focuses primarily on estates and trusts, business acquisitions and dispositions, Internal Revenue Service and State Tax Authority representation, and litigation support.

Dick, a founding partner, has a strong background working with clients of various industries. More recently, his client service includes professional service firms in law, healthcare, engineering and architecture. His expertise extends far beyond professional services into manufacturing, wholesale distribution, professional sports, broadcasting and cable systems.

Dick is past Secretary and Trustee of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta and is currently a member of the Endowment Board, serving on its Investment Committee. He also serves on the Advisory Committees of Endowment for Kennesaw State University and Georgia State University. Dick has served as Treasurer, Vice President and on the Board of Governors of the Standard Club.

Dick was honored with the Georgia Planned Giving Council’s 2010 Greater Good Award, which recognizes exemplary service among Georgia’s charitable advisors.

Professionally, Dick was appointed by Governor Joe Frank Harris to the Georgia Vocational Education Task Force, the Georgia State Board of Personnel and the Georgia State Employee Benefit Plan Council, where he served as a member and Chairman for 10 years. He was also elected a Georgia delegate to the President’s White House Conference on Small Business in 1980. Throughout his career, Dick has served his profession locally as a past president and trustee of the Atlanta Tax Forum and member of the Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants (GSCPA). In addition, he is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the American Bar Association Section on Taxation.

Dick earned his JD, with highest honors, at Emory University in 1963. He obtained his bachelors degree in 1960 at Youngstown University, magna cum laude. Dick is an avid golfer and has participated in many tournaments.

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  Howard F. Neiman, CPA

Howard’s tax and business consulting services for family and closely held business clients are recognized nationally. Howard has been named many times in the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s list of Who’s Who in Finance and he was nominated and awarded The Family Firm Institute’s “Fellow Status in Family Business Advising.”
For more than 40 years, Howard has helped clients with

  • income tax;
  • business succession planning;
  • estate planning;
  • family and non-family compensation issues;
  • business/personal financial planning; and
  • profit improvement planning.

Most of Howard’s clients have been his clients for many years, and thus Howard has built a strong niche in these clients’ industries. Those industries include:

  • distribution;
  • health care;
  • insurance;
  • law;
  • manufacturing;
  • contracting; and
  • retail business.

Howard has been active with the Kennesaw State University Family Business Forum since its inception in 1987.  Howard is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants (GSPCA).  He has served on many national Management Services Consulting committees with the AICPA and is a past chairman of the GSCPA’s Management Services Committee.  He has had articles published with the Management Consulting Division of the AICPA, and also serves on the Board of Advisors for the Kennesaw State University School of Accounting.

As a 1964 graduate of the University of Georgia, Howard earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a major in accounting.

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Chris Clayton catches a striper—
summer of 2010


  Chris Clayton, CPA, JD
Managing Partner

Chris Clayton has been an attorney and tax partner for more than 30 years. He has been BNKJ’s managing partner for 17 years, leading the firm into its fifth decade of serving clients. This dual role as an accountant and firm managing partner has helped him provide clients with accounting and consulting services as well as insight into business planning, operation management and oversight issues as well as exit strategies.

Chris Clayton has been an attorney and tax partner for more than 30 years. He has been BNKJ’s managing partner for 17 years, leading the firm into its fifth decade of serving clients. This dual role as an accountant and firm managing partner has helped him provide clients with accounting and consulting services as well as insight into business planning, operation management and oversight issues as well as exit strategies.

Chris works primarily with middle market closely held businesses on complex, corporate tax planning matters and strategies and long-term and short-term business planning, and also works with large, publicly held corporations needing assistance with special long-term projects. He also works with many high-net worth individuals, including CEOs and CFOs, business owners, investors, entertainers, athletes, and other corporate executives to ensure personal tax strategies complement the business strategies.

Chris works with his clients and their other trusted advisors to ensure that they are structuring their assets in a way that minimizes their tax burdens, and maximizes and protects their wealth.

Prior to joining BNKJ, Chris worked for several years at Touche Ross & Company (now Deloitte). There he provided complex tax services and general consulting services, and served on the national tax committee for state and local taxation. Chris holds both a BBA in Finance (1980) and Juris Doctor in Law (1983) from the University of Georgia and serves as a guest lecturer for many professional organizations such as the Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants (GSCPA).

Outside of the office, Chris volunteers his time and accounting expertise to help some of his favorite charities. He is an alumni and supporter of Marist School in Atlanta, and currently serves on the YMCA Camp High Harbour Board. He has also served on the Atlanta Children’s Shelter Finance Committee, the Fraser Center Board and the Woodruff Arts Center Fundraising Committee. Chris is an active supporter of Home Stretch and Camp Twin Lakes, and was one of the American Diabetes Association’s top 20 fundraisers for Tour de Cure.

Chris and his wife Maureen live in Roswell. They have three boys—an Auburn graduate, UNC Wilmington graduate and a freshman at University of Georgia. Chris loves to participate in outdoor activities such as backpacking, tennis, fishing, golf and skiing. A personal goal for Chris is to hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine; he and his four person hike team should hit North Carolina during their next hike scheduled for January 2015.

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  Barry Klein, CPA
Partner in Charge of ERISA Audits

Barry, with 30 years of accounting experience, provides auditing, tax and consulting services to companies in technology, manufacturing, multi-unit retail business, healthcare, professional services, and wholesale distribution. He has been with BNKJ for 26 years, and leads the firm’s ERISA audit and assurance consulting group, performing retirement plan audits for clients ranging in size from 100 to 15,000 participants with assets in excess of a billion dollars, including private and public companies.

Barry’s approach to serving his clients is to recognize possible issues his clients could face and address them before they become problems. By being a trusted business partner, Barry provides more than just tax and audit services to the many closely held businesses he helps. He also looks out for his clients and their interests, providing consulting advice and also working with businesses to improve operations and increase profits.

Barry stays on top of new developments and issues that could affect his clients. He is an active leader in the business community, and continues to serve as Treasurer and Board Member of the Atlanta Chapter of the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA), and the Board of the Atlanta Chapter of Worldwide Employee Benefits (WEB). He is a member of The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants, the Clarity business group and VirtualBoard.

Prior to joining BNKJ in 1988, Barry gained valuable experience as a Chartered Accountant in South Africa, where he was partner in a prominent firm. He later moved to the United States and joined BNKJ’s Audit group as a Supervisor. Barry was named a BNKJ partner in 1995. He earned a Masters in Accounting from the University of South Africa.

Barry and his family are sports enthusiasts, and enjoy many action-packed activities together. Barry especially likes to ride his bicycle, and often participates in charity cycling fundraisers. He also plays soccer in recreational leagues, and likes to relax by sharing fine cuisine with his clients, friends and family.

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  Jeffrey G. Olson, CPA, MTX

Jeffrey Olson is a partner at BNKJ, bringing more than 30 years of business and public accounting experience to serve his clients in their diverse industries. In addition to accounting and audit, Jeff provides particular depth in areas that include business capital formation and finance, taxation and the real estate and construction industries.

Jeff’s business advisory approach offers clients strategic guidance with a focus on creating value while creating clear, solid financial reports that assist business owners with explaining the story of their business to financial statement users. He has been a guest lecturer on SEC accounting and reporting topics, and in 2014 and 2015 was selected by the National Academy of Public Accounting Professionals (NAPAP) as a Georgia 2014 Top 10 Public Accounting Professional.

Prior to joining BNKJ, Jeff worked in a series of progressively senior positions at Deloitte & Touche, LLP. He holds undergraduate degrees in both accounting and finance from the University of South Carolina (Go Gamecocks!), where he also earned his Masters of Taxation. Jeff is a member of the AICPA, a member of the National Association of Real Estate Companies (NAREC) where he is currently serving on the organization’s governing board, and has held leadership positions within the Georgia Society of CPAs.

Jeff is originally from Bridgeport, Connecticut, and now lives in Marietta, Georgia with his wife, Laura. They have two daughters. When not immersed in the world of accounting, tax and finance, Jeff enjoys playing guitar and also – like many Atlantans -- is an avid member of the Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association (ALTA) as well as the United States Tennis Association (USTA). Though most people are not privy to his secret talent, Jeff is also a surprisingly good cook. He is an active volunteer, serving his community through philanthropic organizations that include the Good Samaritan Health Center of Cobb County and MUST Ministries.

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  Stephen M. Rogut, CPA
COO and Partner

Stephen has been a partner since 1999 and works with many of the firm’s largest clients coordinating audits and preparing financial statements. In addition, he conducts internal control studies and provides compliance and consulting services to clients in industries including manufacturing, distribution, professional services, real estate and not-for-profit. Stephen also performs the firm’s technical reviews on all retirement plan audits, as well as all other financial statement engagements.

Known for his organizational and interpersonal skills, as well as his strong work ethic, Stephen is often in the office before the sun rises preparing for his dual role as both the Chief Operating Officer of the firm and an audit partner. Stephen has been COO for the past seven years, and ensures that the firm functions smoothly and profitably just like any of the professional service firms BNKJ represents.

In addition to his client and administrative responsibilities, Stephen coordinates the recruitment of the firm’s professional and administrative staff. His ability to find individuals that match our firm’s needs and culture has enabled BNKJ to keep our people, grow our firm and maintain pace with our increasing and diverse client base.

Stephen is a native of Cape Town, South Africa, and earned accounting and law degrees from the University of Cape Town. Before moving to the United States in 1986, Stephen was employed with Arthur Andersen.

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  James W. Lahm, CPA/ABV/CFF

Jim operates from a simple, core philosophy- the answers lie in asking the right questions. Whether providing tax, accounting or consulting services to his clients, he applies this philosophy to an entrepreneurial outlook and a direct approach. His experience, technical and intuitive skills make him a valued advisor and trusted business partner.

Jim takes complex, technical issues and breaks them down into simple, easy to manage components. This is especially helpful to business owners who want to know about tax planning strategies, financial options, innovative opportunities and creative productivity methods.

Jim has extensive experience in financial reporting and tax services, drawing on economics, finance, and accounting analysis to help his clients. He has a background in performing business valuations, with skills and experience that have proven helpful to clients involved with sales or acquisitions and business succession planning. This knowledge has also helped his traditional clients, because understanding how to measure value can lead to improving value.

A believer in lifelong learning and an avid reader, Jim continually pursues advanced education in tax, valuation, accounting and consulting disciplines. Whether beginning a relationship or broadening an existing one, Jim offers top notch credentials, experience, technical understanding and dedication. He is an ABV (a CPA Accredited in Business Valuation), a CFF (a CPA Certified in Financial Forensics), a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants. Jim earned his B.S. in accounting at Kean College.

A music lover since childhood, he listens to everything from classical and world music to modern jazz and rock and roll. Jim and his wife Bernadette also enjoy the visual arts, international cuisine and traveling.

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  Stafford W. Huff, CPA

Stafford’s many years of experience in public accounting, combined with his impressive and unique education, have contributed to his very strong and thorough understanding of the common and uncommon challenges facing growing businesses and their owners.

From the beginning of his accounting career in 1986, Stafford has benefited from his involvement in a wide variety of tax and accounting engagements. He prides himself on developing practical solutions and earning the trust of clients, associates and other members of the professional services team.

Stafford focuses his service efforts in taxation and business consulting. He is particularly knowledgeable in the areas of:

  • Real Estate Development, Construction and Investment Entities
  • Timber and Timberland Investment Entities
  • Physician, Dental and Orthodontic Entities
  • High Income and High Net Worth Individuals
  • Closely Held Entities

Stafford is a native of Atlanta and has earned degrees from the University of Georgia and the State University of West Georgia. He currently serves as Secretary on the Board of the Atlanta Tax Forum, and is an active member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants (GSPCA).

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  Stephen J. Nadeau, CPA, MTX
Tax Partner

Steve is a tax partner with more than 33 years of experience. Although Steve cites the 1986 Tax Reform Act as the biggest change he’s seen, he has kept abreast of all the ensuing legislation, right through the JGTRRA of 2003, to stay ahead of the game.

With 26+ years of service at BNKJ, Steve has watched the firm grow and change as he has moved from solely reviewing tax returns for other partners to working with some of his own clients. He works predominantly with closely held or consolidated corporate groups, multi-state tax compliance, and non-profits. Steve also works with high net worth individuals on their tax plans and represents clients before the Internal Revenue Service and State Tax Authorities.

Steve knows what it’s like to sit at the desk of many of the corporate clients he serves. He was employed as an assistant controller for a family business for six years before coming to BNKJ, which has given him a unique perspective when working with business owners.

Steve earned a Master in Taxation from Georgia State University. He also earned his undergraduate degree in business administration from Georgia State University and is a member of the Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants, the American Institute of the Certified Public Accountants and the Atlanta Tax Forum.

Steve has the distinction of having the longest commute to the office, as he lives with his wife and two daughters in the outskirts of Metro Atlanta. He enjoys home gardening and golfing.

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L. Gill Fenerty, CPA
Federal and State Tax Partner

Gill Fenerty has more than 15 years experience providing accounting and tax services to public companies and privately held businesses. Gill often works with businesses and individuals on complex matters related to accounting methods and multi-state taxation. His industry focus has been primarily with professional service firms, real estate entities and distribution companies.

Gill has built a niche in both multi-state taxation and law firm practices. He regularly consults with professional service providers in areas such as capital account maintenance, leverage, profitability measures and partner compensation. He also advises multi-state businesses on nexus issues for tax matters involving numerous state incentives and credits available to business and individuals and has vast knowledge regarding different state and local regulations.

Gill gained unique experience when he worked at KPMG, where he was instrumental in the development of a new tax accounting strategies (TAS) group in KPMG’s New Orleans office. The TAS group analyzed company accounting methods to identify possible tax saving opportunities involving income deferral and expense acceleration. In almost all cases, the method changes required the approval of the IRS.

Gill’s experience also includes work as the National Tax Manager for Holland & Knight, LLP, a global, Am Law 100 law firm which is the fifth largest in the United States. In addition to his duties involving partner capital maintenance, Gill honed his state and local skills, advising firm partners throughout the country on their federal, state and local taxes. In addition, Gill maintained the firm’s compliance for all taxes and registrations in more than 20 states.

Upon graduating from Holy Cross College with a BA in History, Gill spent three months in Italy promoting and participating in a local football league. He was then recruited to play professional football for the Toronto Argonauts. After three successful years with the team, Gill joined the New Orleans Saints and played with them for two years.

Athletics still remain a big part of Gill’s life. Whether he is cycling, playing tennis or golf or getting together with Atlantans for some flag football, he spends much of his free time outdoors.

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  Carryn Whiteford, CPA
Audit Partner

Carryn has more than 17 years of experience providing auditing, retirement plan auditing, and accounting and advisory services to multinational SEC, international and privately held clients, most notably in the manufacturing, distribution, real estate and technology industries.

Prior to joining BNKJ, Carryn was an Audit Manager at Deloitte & Touche, LLP. Some of her responsibilities there included managing multiple engagement teams; reviewing and evaluating financial data, business processes and internal controls; and researching and evaluating the impact of emerging accounting pronouncements.

Carryn is originally from Durban, South Africa and began her career at Deloitte & Touche’s Durban office in 1998. She later transferred to their Atlanta office to continue her service in accounting.

Carryn earned her accounting degrees from the University of Natal, South Africa. She is a member of the AICPA and the Georgia Society of CPAs.

Carryn lives in East Cobb and enjoys spending her free time with her husband, two daughters and son.

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