Financial Distress Prediction for Small and Medium Enterprises Using Machine Learning Techniques
Keywords:Financial distress prediction, Random Forest, Artificial Neural Networks, Logistic Regression, Small and Medium Enterprises
Financial distress prediction is a key challenge every financing provider faces when determining borrower creditworthiness. Inherent opaqueness of Small and Medium Enterprise business complicates credit decision making process, therefore increasing cost to finance and lowering probability of receiving funds. This paper used data on 12.000 SMEs to estimate binomial classifiers for financial distress prediction using Logistic Regression, Artificial Neural Networks and Random Forest techniques. Classical financial ratios were used to estimate initial single-period predictors, which were later enhanced with time, credit history and age factors to retrieve multi-period models. Contrary to other studies, financial distress is understood as a significant challenge to company’s ability to cover liabilities rather than probability to go bankrupt. Highest prediction accuracy was reached using Random Forest algorithm with additional factors. It was concluded that period-at-risk adjustment is necessary to ensure highest financial distress prediction accuracy.