From left, Communitech Corp's Jennifer Gruber, CPA, CA, vice-president of finance and Mike Darling, CPA, CGA, manager of accounting (Photography by Sara Jalali, Communitech)
Hiring is everything. It’s a key part of growing a tech business and especially important during the critical stage of scaling operations.
Colin Calvert, CFO of Nicoya, a Canadian nanotechnology company, knows this firsthand. Located in Kitchener-Waterloo, Nicoya works at the forefront of nanotechnology, biochemistry and optical sensors. When the time came to expand internationally, Calvert discovered Communitech Outposts, a program designed to accelerate growth by taking the complications out of hiring international employees.
“Prior to Outposts, we did not recruit actively in international territories,” says Calvert. Since then, Nicoya has hired employees in a handful of international markets.
As the nature of hiring in Canada’s tech sector changes, an increasing number of employers are recognizing the value in international employees. And for good reason—according to a 2022 study by Upwork, nearly 60 per cent of all employees now work remotely. By widening the pool of hires and accessing a global workforce, you are putting your business in the best position to succeed.
“Our introduction to Outposts timed perfectly,” Calvert notes. Now we don't set local boundaries in our hiring parameters and have started to move towards actively recruiting in some key international areas.”
As any hiring manager can attest to, finding the right people can pose significant challenges—particularly when the talent pool extends well beyond Canadian borders, where an entire world of qualified and experienced candidates are vying for opportunities.
Until now, hiring talent outside of Canada has been a headache for managers and CFOs, having to navigate administrative responsibilities, as well as complex elements like local tax and legal requirements.
Communitech Outposts simplifies the process. “Outposts serves to eliminate barriers to hiring internationally,” says Jennifer Gruber, a CPA and vice-president of finance with Communitech Corp, one of the largest tech hubs in the country and the organization behind the Outposts program. “Our goal is to help them expand on a global level in less time for less costs and really allow them to compete with other companies.”
“As accountants, our job is to identify risks to management and recommend a potential solution,” says CPA Mike Darling, Communitech’s manager of accounting. “In a world where business has no borders, why should talent? Outposts removes the borders for hiring talent. This creates flexibility for companies as well as expands the talent pool a company can draw from while removing the tax risk of contract vs employee.”
Hiring internationally has traditionally been a bumpy process for growing Canadian businesses. Most accountants are by nature risk-averse, so CPAs in C-suite positions may have been hesitant in the past. Now with Outposts, companies like Nicoya can achieve global growth on an accelerated timeline without bearing a lot of hazards.
“Looking back, expanding our reach well beyond the Canadian borders was a critical early step in Nicoya’s history,” notes Calvert. “Programs like Outposts are simple ‘hacks’ to help manage this efficiently instead of getting bogged down with heavy administration.”
As for getting started, “it’s easier than you think,” Calvert says. “If you can benefit from access to talent outside of Canada, Outposts is a low risk, low cost option to expand your reach without worrying about the heavy administrative burden that comes along with a permanent establishment or branch.
To learn more, visit communitech.ca/outposts