Creating Supplier Master Data


After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Describe the process of creating a new supplier, including the assignment of appropriate groupings.
  • Apply the knowledge of working with CPD suppliers, and manage their relationships.
  • Analyze supplier master data in SAP S/4HANA Cloud.

Business Partners

In SAP S/4HANA, the creation of a supplier is preceded by the creation of a business partner. Let’s review how both concepts relate.

A Business Partner is a third party with which your company has a business interest. This can be a person, or group of people, or an organization.

In SAP S/4HANA, the business partner is the master record with which you manage your suppliers. The business partner is also used to manage other types of third parties - for example, customers or employees.

The system offers a single point of entry to create, edit, and display master data for business partners with regards to various business processes. A business partner should only exist once in the master data, independent of the number of business processes in which it is involved. This means, for example, that if a third party is both a customer and a vendor, it only needs to be set up once in SAP.

The creation of a business partner in SAP S/4HANA requires determining some mandatory organizational elements:

  • Category: The Business Partner (BP) category is the term used to classify a business partner as a natural person (for example, a private individual), group (for example, a community of heirs), or organization (legal entity or part of a legal entity, such as a department of a company).
  • Grouping: Each business partner must be assigned to a grouping upon its creation. The grouping determines the BP number from a predefined number range. This numbering can be external or internal.
  • Role: A BP Role corresponds in general to a business context in which a business partner can appear and provides the application-specific data. A business partner can have several roles, such as a Supplier (Fin. Accounting), Customer (Fin. Accounting), Customer (SD), or Supplier (MM).

In this course, we use the standard business partner role, FI Vendor for Accounts Payable. This BP role allows the entry of the company code specific (= Accounts Payable specific) data for a business partner.

Let’s have a look to more details on these components:

Category, Grouping, and Roles of Business Partners Usage

A Business Partner can only be linked to one BP Category, that is, either a partner is a person or an organization. The category determines which fields are available in the master data - for example, the date of birth of a person, or the legal form of an organization.

Each new business partner must be assigned to a Grouping. This grouping determines the Business Partner, therefore, it cannot be changed after the BP has been created.

A BP can be linked to an unlimited number of BP Roles. First, the business partner’s General Data must be completed. It contains application-neutral data, such as address, telephone number, or bank data.

Then the BP can be linked to several additional business roles, one for each business process in which it is involved. For example, the BP is linked both to a ’Customer’ role and a ‘Supplier’ role at creation. Some months later, a new role for ‘Consumer’ is added.

Specific data is stored for each BP role. This way, maintenance is reduced, and no redundant data is stored since the general data is defined once and is independent of a BP’s function or application-specific extensions.

When a BP has been assigned the role of Supplier FI, the system will prompt you to associate it to the company codes where this business process is executed and carry out the necessary setup. For example, the supplier can be created in 3 European companies, each with different payment terms settings, and not created for American companies.

In addition, you must bear in mind that your company’s accounting department and the purchasing department have different requirements that are handled in SAP through 2 different modules: FI and MM. This will result in the usage of 2 different roles if the same supplier must be activated in the 2 modules. For instance, the G/L reconciliation account setting is only relevant to the accounting department, in the same way that the delivery schedule is only relevant to the purchasing department.

Overall, sharing the same business partner number for a customer and supplier should facilitate your daily tasks as there are fewer identifiers to manage in the master records database and in the daily operations.

However, depending on your specific processes, or if your company used different sets of numbers in legacy or external systems, sharing the number ranges could lead the users to confusion and errors.

Jennifer now feels confident that she can create a Supplier Business Partner in the system. Let's also practice the creation of a supplier.

Create a Supplier

Practice yourself using the interactive simulation to create a business partner master record using the SAP Fiori app: Manage Business Partner Master Data.

CPD Suppliers

Jennifer is aware that, in some cases, suppliers are used only once. She wonders how these one-time suppliers can be managed in the system.

SAP S/4HANA allows the creation of one-time suppliers, for those BPs that you have a business transaction with only once, typically for a low value. The standard account group delivered by SAP for one-time suppliers (or customers) is identified as ‘CPD – Conto-Pro-Diverse’ and it contains a flag ‘One-time account’ in its configuration. Therefore, the one-time suppliers (or customers) are referred to as ‘CPD’ in SAP.

Typically, the one-time supplier does not contain address or bank data in its master record. This information must be then entered into the business document, such as the incoming invoice. The system recognizes the supplier as belonging to the CPD group and automatically prompts the user to complete the data missing in the master record.

Typically, providers unrelated to the core activity of the company, with low invoice amounts, and seldom used can be handled as CPD suppliers: A gift shop for an employee retirement present, a local charity, a restaurant for a team building event. Local accounting or internal rules might impact the cases in which the one-time supplier functionality can be used.

Let’s review how one-time suppliers are used:

Supplier Master Data Reporting

With so many suppliers in the database, Jennifer is curious to discover how the reporting of this master data can be done in the system. Let’s review that together.

The Display Supplier List is the main application used to retrieve and report suppliers. Several selection criteria are available by default and can be used to narrow down the research - for example, by Company Code or by Country.

Additional selection criteria can easily be added by the business user - for example ‘Created by’ to retrieve the suppliers created by a particular business user, including oneself.

Furthermore, the information that the list has to include can be selected by the user. The retrieved data can be filtered and sorted and also exported to a file.

Another key application for the review of suppliers is the Supplier Fact Sheet. It provides a condensed overview, not only of master data, but also transactional and statistical data.

Jennifer is going to check out how to report suppliers in the system.

Create a Supplier List

Practice yourself using the interactive simulation to create a supplier list using the SAP Fiori app: Display Supplier List.

Create a Supplier Fact Sheet

Practice yourself using the interactive simulation to create a supplier fact sheet using the following SAP Fiori app: Manage Business Partner Master Data.

Log in to track your progress & complete quizzes