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There is a lot to be said for supporting Irish businesses at any time, but as companies up and down the country come to terms with the changes forced on them by coronavirus there are additional incentives for giving your custom to enterprises created, owned and managed right here in Ireland.

The SME Recovery initiative recognises the value of small businesses to our economy, noting that they represent 99.8% of active enterprises, support two-thirds of total employment and are responsible for more than 30% of all exports.

We are all familiar with the multiplier effect of spending money locally and how every euro spent generates many more euros across the economy. This is as true for accounting software as it is for any other industry and starts with identifying the right accounts software for the job.

No sensible enterprise would trust its books and records to an accounting software company  that doesn’t understand its  business or the industry it operates in. So it similarly makes sense to use an accounting system that was developed based on feedback from Irish companies, reflects the nuances of our taxation system and is supported locally by people who understand how this system works.

As we explained in a recent blog, our VAT system is not only complex – we also pay one of the highest levels of standard rate VAT in Europe, which means that even a small mistake on a return can prove costly.

We also have to accept that the way people work has changed. A recent Institute of Directors in Ireland survey found that fewer than one-in-eight business leaders believed all staff would be back in their office or workspace once COVID-19 lockdown was fully lifted.

This survey suggests some form of remote working will become the norm. Again, Irish Accounting software companies are best placed to understand what this means for local businesses and – equally importantly – their employees. As the chief executive of the Institute of Directors in Ireland points out, business leaders will need to be agile to allow for these changes.

New work patterns make access to local support more important than ever. When they have an issue, customers want to talk to someone who knows the market they are operating in and can provide practical solutions, not like the foreign software companies not based here.

This doesn’t just mean making knowledge and information accessible via how-to guides and FAQs, although these are important features. It means being on the other end of the line when customers need help, working with them to ensure their accounts run smoothly.

Accounts are not something you can afford to think about only for a few days each year and ignore the rest of the time. With so many small Irish businesses facing cash flow problems it is vital to know exactly where you stand, which is where a cloud-based accounting package like Big Red Cloud (that can be accessed from any location) comes into its own.

Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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