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Sarah Friar Square

  • Payments startup Square has had a massive year, with its share price trebling and the firm on track to post around $1 billion in adjusted revenue for 2017.
  • Chief financial officer Sarah Friar guided the firm through its IPO and told Business Insider that Square’s success boils down to financial discipline and considered expansion.
  • Square is best known for its plug-in card reader which lets small businesses take card payments through a smartphone or tablet.
  • Running the firm is particularly challenging because its CEO Jack Dorsey also runs Twitter.

Most people going into their annual review can expect a mix of praise and criticism, some new targets to hit and, if they’re lucky, a pay rise.

Sarah Friar, in her first review as chief financial officer of payments firm Square, was told by her boss: “I have a simple vision for you, which is that I want you to be the best CFO in the world.”

He then asked her to lay out exactly how she would make that happen.

That boss was Jack Dorsey, who is CEO of both Square and Twitter.

Friar is taking a good stab at earning that title. After joining in 2012, she took Square public and has seen its share price and valuation balloon. The firm’s market cap is currently $16.5 billion (£11.9 billion).

In its third quarter, Square posted revenue of $257 million (£185 million), up 40% year on year. The company has yet to post its fourth-quarter results, but Friar said it’s on track to post around $1 billion (£719 billion) in adjusted revenue for the full year.

According to Friar, it all comes down to discipline.

Square has carefully managed its growth by avoiding over-expansion

Dorsey sometimes has his hands full running Twitter, whose share price has gone in the opposite direction to Square’s. It’s been a particularly strong 2017 for Square, which Read More Here