Beyond Training – Building High Performing Accounting Firms

Charles Jennings on the BD Academy Accounting Influencers podcast with Rob Brown
Charles Jennings on the BD Academy Accounting Influencers podcast with Rob Brown

Charles Jennings

Charles Jennings is a leading thinker and practitioner in innovative organisational performance improvement. He is particularly well known for his work with the 70:20:10 model, based on research that learning occurs as part of daily work and not through formal training. He has spent the past 45 years helping people and organisations make measurable improvements to their performance.

Charles is a business school professor, Head of the UK national centre for networked learning and  Chief Learning Officer for global companies. He also advises on boards for international learning, performance and business bodies. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts (FRSA) and a Fellow of the Learning & Performance Institute (FLPI). Shownotes:

  • Training alone is never enough to produce high performance in any field, particularly accountancy
  • How the 70-70-10 model stopped Thomson Reuters from going under
  • 70% of learning and development in an accounting firm is comes from experience, practice and reflection
  • 20% of learning and development in an accounting firm comes from coaching, mentoring, support from peers and managers around and above us
  • 10% of learning and development in an accounting firm comes from formal training, perhaps classroom or online based
  • High performing accounting firms are those with agility that can respond rapidly to changes and can outperform others
  • High performers out perform their peers in accountancy not by one or two times, but by multiples
  • Many accounting firms see learning that happens to individuals, but it’s actually cultures and companies that shape learning
  • Nobody in accounting achieves their learning or commercial objectives alone
  • For many leaders, learning means schooling and measuring what’s been learned rather than performance
  • How coachable and malleable are technically smart accountants compared to professionals in other industries?
  • How good leadership and an understanding of learning and performance in Thomson Reuters more than doubled their stock price
  • Every accounting manager has two responsibilities – operational excellence AND people development
  • Managers who abdicate people development to HR or L&D will never see high performance in their team
  • Bringing people into a room for face to face training can be very impactful to change behaviours and mindset
  • Three brilliant post-training coaching questions to deepen learning and enhance behavioural change in accounting firms
  • The definition of learning is behaviour change so training and learning needs to measure that
  • The more identical the environment to the training, the more effective it is
  • Transfer of skills and people’s performance in a learning environment doesn’t always transfer back into the workplace
  • There is a lot more to coaching and mentoring in a professional firm than the standard approaches if you want high or exemplary performers
  • It takes some time to develop coaching techniques and empathy but anyone can improve their coaching skills
  • Warning for partners and leaders in accounting firms – giving advice from your own experience with those you coach is the 14th most effective way to improve others
  • The vital role of ‘performance support’ with learning close to the point of application to be more effective
  • Even though most people want to do a good job at work, there are things inhibiting them to perform at an optimum level
  • No organisation performs at an optimal level – there is always a lot of head room.
'How coachable and malleable are technically smart #accountants compared to professionals in other industries?' Performance expert @charlesjennings answers on the #Accounting Influencers #Podcast with @therobbrown… Click To Tweet

Charles Jennings on the BD Academy Accounting Influencers podcast with Rob Brown


Charles came to the UK from Australia in 1973 to carry out post-graduate research and never left. He still doesn’t pass the ‘Norman Tebbit Test’ (google it!) In 2015 Charles founded the 70:20:10 Institute with his co-authors of the book 702010 towards 100% performance. The 70:20:10 Institute develops new approaches for building high performance. It provides global solutions and services, accelerators, toolkits, clinics and an accreditation programs to help improve performance using its methodologies and business models.

When he’s not working, Charles can be found at the end of a garden fork in his garden and allotment or attached to a guitar, a banjo or some other stringed instrument in his music room. You can call him on +44 7990 565753 or contact him below:

Charles on LinkedIn

Charles on Twitter

Charles on email

70-20-10 Institute Website