IIBN Marc O’Dwyer, talks about his entrepreneurial journey.
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
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.
Big Red Cloud is part of the Big Red Book stable of products. A business that specialises in developing
simple and easy to use Accounting, Bookkeeping and Payroll software.
Big Red Cloud enables Small business owner’s access to their accounts online. Always accessible,
unlimited and with free access for their Accountant. We also offer telephone support to our
thousand of customers.
Our company’s motto is to keep things simple. We strive to help small businesses succeed by
enabling them to use an accounting system without any knowledge of accounts and run a more
In business for 28 years, we have developed a vast knowledge in this area and bring an expertise
unparalleled in accounting software to all our 75,000 customers.
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
What was your “back-to-the-wall” moment and how did you overcome it?
My whole sales team walked out after we changed their sales targets, leaving us with no potential for new
sales. I rolled up my sleeves and went out and did the demo’s myself. I then recorded my demo and sent the
recording out to any future prospects, saving huge amounts in commission and expenses, resulting in a
saving of €250K
What moment/deal would you cite as the “game changer” or turning point for the company?
Having the foresight to move our software to the Cloud back in 2009. We were very early adopters and were
one of the first to “bet” our future on Microsoft Azure. It was after an Enterprise Ireland seminar on moving
your business to the Cloud that I had a lightbulb moment. It was challenging moving from an “on-premise”
software product to the Cloud, convincing both customers and Accountants that it was the way forward, but I
am extremely happy I did and having done so it made our business “Covid” proof with so much home working
How has Covid impacted your business? How do you expect things to unfold?
With Digital adoption accelerated tenfold in the last 18 months, owning that provides simple
cloud accounting software has been a case of right product right time. With so many people working from
home and needing to access their accounts business increase by over 30% during Covid. I expect the trend
of home working to continue and now with the likes of AI and machine learning we are automating a lot of the
mundane tasks associated with Accounting, such as purchase invoice processing and direct links to all Irish
Banks by which we automatically import all transactions and reconcile with the accounting system. This
saves business owners and their Accountants huge amounts of time and cuts down on human error.
What is the most common mistake you see entrepreneurs make?
Not investing in a proper accounts software product from the start. By having a proper system in place early
on, it can save Entrepreneurs so much grief when wrong decisions are made on the journey, due to lack of
proper financial information.