Applying for a business loan? Achieve more success with help

If you would like to take out a business loan, you can submit a funding application to a bank. Be sure to prepare this carefully, as it will improve your chances of success. If you are not certain of how to go about this: with the right adviser and a good financial rationale, you will get your finance application approved in no time. Read all about who can help you if you intend to invest in your business.

Around 56% of SMEs turn to their own accountant or financial adviser first for information on business loans. Source: CBS Financieringsmonitor 2022 (in Dutch). Your accountant is already familiar with the business, making them a natural consulting partner if you are applying for a business loan. You can also enlist another consulting partner for assistance. A good consultant knows what is important when submitting an application, and this can therefore make a difference between rejection and approval of the business loan.

Asking for business advice pays off

As Jessica Hogerhuis explains, it pays off to ask a consultant to help you with submitting your loan application. Jessica is the owner of the Rotown music venue and bar/restaurant in Rotterdam. She hired the services of a professional consultant when applying for a business loan. “I had difficulty doing it on my own. The consultant I hired was apparently better at communicating with bankers, and he ended up coming through for me.” Fons Huijgens of Stichting MKB Financiering adds: “A finance consultant acts as an initial filter for a financier. If you apply for a business loan with the assistance of a consultant, this generally makes you better prepared, since the consultant knows exactly which financier to contact and what aspects they tend to pay attention to. If your application lacks potential, the consultant will delay submitting it and will first assess whether applying for a loan is the responsible thing to do. You and your consultant will then assess together which provider is most likely to approve your loan application.”

Finding a consultant for business advice

You might find a financial consultant or coach through any of the following organisations:


  • Stichting Ondernemersklankbord (OKB, in Dutch): Consultants employed by OKB have worked in a variety of sectors and industries. They will review your loan application for you, provide advice on its content, make you aware of any alternatives, and make sure you have your finances in order. Note that OKB consultants do not actually submit business loan applications themselves, though in some cases a consultant might accompany you to an appointment with the financier.
  • Qredits: Coaches employed by Qredits provide targeted advice on the business loans provided by Qredits.

Trade associations

  • Koninklijke Horeca Nederland (in Dutch): Koninklijke Horeca Nederland provides members with advice on various financing options, including through beer breweries, crowdfunding, or banks.
  • Koninklijke INretail (in Dutch): INretail helps its members find (alternative) sources of funding. Their experts combine their knowledge of the industry with a financing tool developed by Capsearch.
  • Koninklijke Metaalunie (in Dutch): Metaalunie helps its members with loan applications, alternative financing sources, and negotiations with the bank.

The organisations listed above represent 3 major sectors. If you operate in a different industry and would like to apply for a business loan, contact your trade association to find out how they can help you with your loan application.

Credit unions

credit union is a cooperative that brings together lenders and business owners with a need for credit. Successful business owners provide finance, contacts, knowledge, and experience. They help other business owners in their own geographic area who intend to apply for a business loan. Any business owner who requires a business loan and joins the credit union is assigned a coach – this is usually one of the lenders.

Business angels

Business angels are investors who are interested in businesses that have the potential to start generating high revenues and high profits within several years. Business angels typically provide business loans for your business by investing in shares. Agree with a business angel on the level of involvement and control in your business. You will also be working with a coach and have access to your investor’s business network. A business angel can also provide you with a (convertible) subordinated loan, which is a loan you can later convert into shares. ‘Subordinated’ means that your loan provider is the last to be repaid in the event of liquidation, with other debtors taking precedence.

Accountants and trust offices

Some business owners in need of credit will start by contacting their accountant or trust office, as they are familiar with all the company’s financial ins and outs. You should keep in mind that not all audit firms or trust offices specialise in business finance In this case, your personal adviser will not be able to help you and you should find a financing specialist instead.

  • NBA: Nederlandse Beroepsorganisatie van Accountants (The Royal Netherlands Institute of Chartered Accountants)
  • SRA: Samenwerkende Register Accountants en Accountants Administratieconsulenten (Association of Chartered Accountants and Accounting Consultants). Networking organisation of independent audit firms in the Netherlands.
  • NOAB (in Dutch): Nederlandse Orde van Administratie- en Belastingdeskundigen (Dutch Association of Accounting and Tax Experts). Trade association for trust offices and tax advisory services.

Quality mark for advisers

Since the market for financial consultants is large and their quality may vary, Stichting MKB Financiering (in Dutch) introduced the Keurmerk Erkend Financieringsadvies MKB (in Dutch) quality mark for financial consultants to SMEs, which allows consultants to set themselves apart from their less qualified counterparts.

Consultants with the Keurmerk Erkend Financieringsadvies MKB:

  • have knowledge of the range of financiers out there;
  • have expertise in writing loan applications;
  • act in the client’s interest; and
  • have undergone a background check.

Applying for a business loan yourself

You can also choose to apply for a business loan without the assistance of a professional. As Barry Baks, an adviser for SMEs with ABN AMRO Bank, explains, you need to be able to anticipate what type of information your financier will need.  “An incomplete loan application is a reason to turn down your application, so business owners must be well prepared and come across as confident,” Baks says. “What expenses do you have? What is the source of your other revenues? We find it reassuring when other people trust you and have provided you with a subordinated loan; it means we will respond to your loan application more quickly. It is also important that a business owner is willing to accept liability and to take risks. The bank is essentially willing to provide a loan, but does so together with the business owner, as this distributes the risk. You should therefore make sure that you have funds of your own to contribute.” Huijgens adds that the business owner must clearly specify for what purpose they need the money for the business loan and how they intend to repay the loan. “We expect business owners to supply data, including details and a personal analysis.”

Certified SME Lender quality mark

If you are looking for a financier to whom you can apply for a business loan, you will want to do business with someone you can trust. Financiers with a Keurmerk Erkend MKB Financier (Certified SME Lender quality mark) (in Dutch) comply with a code of conduct and work in the client’s interest. For example, they must comply with standards for providing information to business owners and standards for interest rates.

If you would like more information about business finance, download the KVK Guide for business financing.