Here’s how Square’s outgoing CFO, Sarah Friar, exercised financial discipline to grow the $32 billion company 40% each quarter (SQ, TWTR)


Sarah Friar Square

Square’s chief financial officer, Sarah Friar, is leaving to become chief executive of neighbourhood social network Nextdoor.
Square’s stock price fell on the news, but the company had a massive 2017 with its share price tripling and posting $2.2 billion in revenue for the year.
Friar guided the firm through its IPO and told Business Insider last year that Square’s success boils down to financial discipline and considered expansion.
Square is best known for its physical card readers which let small businesses take card payments through a smartphone or tablet.
Running the firm has been 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.

During her tenure at Square, Friar has taken 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 $32 billion (£24 billion).

Friar will leave Square in December to head up Nextdoor, a neighbourhood social networking service headquartered in San Francisco. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given Square’s stellar year, the firm’s stock price fell on the news.

In the third quarter of 2018, Square posted revenue of $814 million (£617 million), up around 47% year on year. It narrowed its losses too, and is getting closer to profitability, with losses down to $9 million from $15 million the prior year.

Business Insider spoke to Sarah Friar at the beginning of this year about how Square has kept growing at such a rapid pace.

According to Friar, it all comes down to discipline.

You can read our January interview with her below.

Square has carefully managed its growth by avoiding over-expansion

Square’s chief executive Jack Dorsey sometimes has his hands full running his other company Twitter, whose share price has gone in the opposite direction to Square’s. It’s been a particularly strong 2017 for Square, which has posted around 40% revenue growth during the last two quarters.

Part of the firm’s success is down to its considered approach to expansion. The company was founded in 2009, but its payment service is only available to small businesses in five markets: The US, Canada, Australia, the UK, and Japan.

Square launched in the UK in March last year, offering both its physical plug-in card reader, and an API for merchants to accept online payments. It doesn’t offer other US services here, such as its Square Capital small business loans, or food delivery service Caviar. Nor has it applied for a banking licence in Europe.

Friar describes this as “staging” — choosing not to …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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