Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are important engines of growth, jobs and social cohesion. However, the creation, survival and growth of SMEs is often hampered by access to finance. Thus, access to SME finance has become a key priority in developing and transition countries. Since the early nineties, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management is combining advisory work, training, and policy advice with applied research. Our goal is to support financial institutions in developing and transition countries establish good practices in Micro and SME finance.
This online course, which is based on Frankfurt School’s broad experience in practical project work and theoretical business school education programs, is tailored to the needs of mid-level managers and loan officers active or interested in SME Finance.
NEW: This course is also available in French
What Do We Offer?
|Before Jul. 15, 2022||EUR 1,350*|
|After Jul. 15, 2022||EUR 1,550*|
Final exam fee: An additional final exam fee will be charged for the second and third final exam attempt
Payment in instalments is not possible.
*Subject to change
The course takes approx. 6 months assuming 5-7 hours of self-study per week. It consists of 7 units which build upon each other. You will take the units in sequence and will need to pass an online multiple choice test before accessing the next unit.
Unit 3, 4 and 5 include an assignment which you will need to submit at a fixed deadline.
You are not sure if you manage to complete the course within 6 months? No worries! You can apply for a course extension (6 more months) against an administrative fee.
|Course Start||Course End||Registration||Early Bird|
|Sept. 1||Feb. 28||Jun. 1 - Sept. 1||by Jul. 15|
|Mar. 1||Aug. 31||Dec. 1 - Mar. 1||by Jan. 15|
All our courses contribute to the following SDGs
This course will enhance your knowledge in the following SDGs. The SWA offers professional and executive courses dedicated to the advancement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Registrations for the March 2023 intake will open on 1 December 2022.
The introduction to the course starts with positioning SME Finance compared to other client segments, e.g. corporate clients or retail clients. The learning goal of the course is to explain the main SME Finance principles, mainly focusing on credit risk analysis, the lending decision process and appropriate risk-taking intermediation as well as customer relationship management. SME businesses face a number of specific risks in their business but SME lending is a profitable business for many MFIs and banks that use the right methodology –cash flow based lending- and appropriate decision making tools.
Understanding the challenges that small and medium business owners are facing is fundamental to the provision of excellent service and achieving good credit decisions.
On successful completion of this module, students will have a thoroughout comprehension of principal concepts and theories in SME finance, i.e. they will be able to:
Suggestions & Recommendations
This course gives you the flexibility to decide on the timing and pace of your learning experience. However we will provide you with recommendations for you to take as much as possible from this course.
Your schedule: We will provide you a course schedule including voluntary and mandatory deadlines. The course schedule serves as a guideline for your personal learning schedule and will help you complete the programme within the given time frame.
Exercises: Even though the exercises in the script are not mandatory we strongly advise that you use them as an opportunity to check your knowledge and to prepare for the final exam.
Networking Opportunities: Use the forum to introduce yourself to your peer participants and to start interesting discussions.
Unit 1: Introduction to SME Finance
Most SMEs work in specific environments with particular characteristics. These change from country to country, region to region and even in between cities in same provinces. A framework to characterize and categorize the specifics of SMEs in a geographically limited area will be explained and judged against international best practice approaches. Typical products and services required by SMEs in transition and developing countries will be presented and best practices on how to approach the segment explained.
- Individual cash flow based lending
- Relationship banking
- Group lending
- Credit scoring (statistical, judgemental, expert modus）
Unit 3: SME Credit Analysis - Verifying Information
This course builds on the information provided in Unit 2. Verifying that the information provided by the business owner is correct is fundamental to achieving good risk decisions. This unit will introduce the cross checking of financial information and develop the 8 SME risk categories in more detail.
- business nature and situation,
- investment project financing structure and
- (verified) cash flow forecast
- The need for cross checking refresher - Misleading financial statements
- Link between financial and non-financial information
- Cross checking of financial information (level 2 - balance sheet, income statement and cash flow items)
Unit 5: SME Credit Analysis - Cash Flow Analysis
Understanding the importance of cash flow for SME business is a key skill. This unit introduces the key features of cash flow analysis and financial forecasting. There will be a strong focus on preparing and analysing SME cash flow statements and financial forecasts to enhance with financial analysis.
- Operating Cash flow
- Investing Cash flow
- Financing Cash flow
- Balance sheet forecast
- Profit forecast
- Cash flow forecast
- Cross checking
- Sensitivity analysis
Unit 2: SME Credit Analysis - Collecting and Understanding Information
“Know your client” is an important principle to understand your customer in terms of business needs as well as for sound loan decisions. Many SMEs work in informal or semi-formal environments. Often no reliable financial data is provided or sometimes not existing. Non-financial information can be cross checked against financial information in order to get a realistic picture of the business’ economic situation. Furthermore the importance of understanding the purpose of a loan (“investment project”) will be stressed.
- Lending products
- Deposit products
- Banking services and others
- Know your client principle- Service quality
- Basic SME lending criteria
- Non-financial vs. financial information
- Repayment willingness and capacity
- Management risk
- Governance risk
- Market risk
- Financial risk
- Legal risk/Compliance
- Environmental (reputational) risks
- Collateral risk
- How to verify reliability of information provided
- Cross checking of non-financial information
- Cross checking of financial information (level 1)
Unit 4: SME Credit Analysis - Financial Analysis
Understanding financial statements for SME business is an important element of good risk decisions and a low NPL profile. This course will introduce participants to understanding and interpreting key characteristics of SME financial statements. There will be a strong focus on analysing SME financial statements to assist with sound credit risk appraisal.
- Assets and Liabilities
- Shareholders’ equity
- The importance of valuations
- Trading statement
- Operating statement
- The difference between Cash and Profit
- Accounts receivable analysis
- Accounts payable analysis
- Inventory analysis
- Cash flow implications of changes in working capital
- Break-even calculation and analysis
- Internal rate of return
Unit 6: Loan Portfolio Management and Monitoring
Proper monitoring systems as well as efficient loan work-out schemes are an important element of effective SME Finance for financial institutions. Key approaches will be laid out and effective instruments (e.g. loan restructuring) will be presented.
- Onsite visits
- Offsite investigation
- Portfolio indicators
- Monitoring processes
- Loan workout
- Portfolio handover procedures
- Reporting and MIS
- IT requirements
- Early warning systems
- From warning to action
- Instruments of loan work-out
- Intensified Servicing
- Legal action
- Sequencing of instruments
- Preparation and framework
- Basic portfolio handover process
Unit 7a: SME Finance and Supporting Activities
Based on the understanding of general SME Finance management, several key topics will be reviewed and efficient as well as effective solutions presented.
- Job description and recruitment profiles/exams/interviews
- Bonus and incentive systems
- Importance of process management
- Visualization of processes and development of manuals and procedure
- Lean banking principles
- Implementation of SixSigma
- Reporting and monitoring
- Modern ICT and process efficiency (e.g. use of tablet PCs in onsite visits)
Unit 7b: Alternative Forms of SME Finance:
Understand the key differentiating features of different prevalent types of financial instruments that are offered by FIs, NBFIs and non-traditional FIs for typical SME finance needs. Identify opportunities for the FI to offer adequate products to SME customers resulting in a standardised approach that saves cost and improves the risk profile of the transactions. Learn about debt, equity, and hybrid finance. Appreciate that different financial instruments will fit the needs of a business depending on its stages of development.
Unit 7c: Gender Finance/ Women in Business
There is a significant opportunity to better serve the Women’s Market and a strong business case for solutions tailored for women. There are several myths about women-owned businesses that are preventing financial institutions from proactively participating in this very important market.
Understand the important role of female entrepreneurship in the World’s economy. Identify opportunities for FIs to build better relationships with Women owned small and medium businesses (WSMEs). Show how FIs can build a loyal and sustainable customer base by offer products that are better aligned to the needs of WSME customers. Dispel the myths that many financial institutions associate with Women-owned businesses. The Perils of Stereotyping. How Gender Influences the Sales Cycle.
*Subject to change
The flexibility of our courses offers you the opportunity to follow your own schedule and to combine daily work with professional development.
The high quality offered will immediately improve your daily job performance as well as the performance of your institution.
Each unit ends with an online test comprising a set of 10 - 15 multiple choice questions. Only after having successfully completed an online test you will gain access to the next unit.
A PDF script is for most of our courses the main studying material. This reading material provides basic concepts and principles applicable to the subject of each unit.
The key to successful learning is the immediate use of newly acquired knowledge and the transfer of theory into practice. Our online courses are therefore supplemented by mandatory assignments.
A course discussion forum enables the interaction between participants and trainers and facilitates the exchange of experiences as well as possibilities to ask questions or get clarifications.
Passing a final examination is a requirement for obtaining your certificate.
If you do not wish to take the final exam, you will receive a confirmation of course participation after completing the course.
Mike is an SME specialist with over 40 years experience. He has been delivering SME training courses for over 35 years. He worked for Barclays Bank PLC from 1971 to 2004, in a number of Area Director roles. He won national awards for sales and service. He became a consultant in 2004. He is a Senior bank advisor specialising in SME finance and sales. More...
Kairat is a Frankfurt School’s international advisor in SME banking and microfinance since 2010. He serves as one of the leading consultants and trainers at the Frankfurt School Competence Center in SME Finance and is regularly engaged in implementation of assignments in Eastern Europe and Asia. More...
Master of Leadership in Sustainable Finance
The Certified Expert in SME Finance is an Elective Module of the Master of Leadership in Sustainable Finance. Join our Master programme after completing the CESF course and waive one elective module. Also, the amount you paid for the course will be deducted from the final tuition fee of the Master programme.
Diploma in Financial Inclusion
The Certified Expert in SME Finance is part of the curriculum of our Diploma in Financial Inclusion. Enroll to our Diploma after completing the CESF course and waive one module. Also, the amount you paid for the course will be deducted from the final tuition fee of the Diploma.