Creating Customer Master Data


After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Create new customers for financial accounting
  • Explain the relationship between business partner and customer number

Customer Creation

To create a customer master record in SAP S/4HANA, it is required that a Business Partner record exist first.


Michael would like to start by understanding how to manually create a new customer master record for accounting purposes, which uses the existing configuration. In addition, he would like to understand how the customer master record and the business partner record relate.

Furthermore, he would like to review the key elements necessary to set up the business partner, such as the BP category, the BP grouping, and the BP role.

Continue to the next section to begin your learning journey.

Business Partner Introduction

Business Partner

A business partner (BP) is an entity that plays a role in your company’s enterprise. A BP can be a natural person, an organization, or a group. Regarding accounts receivable, we will only focus on a natural person or an organization.

In SAP S/4HANA, the business partner is the master record with which you need to manage your customers. The business partner is also used with other types of related partners - for example, suppliers 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 an entity is both a customer and a supplier, it only needs to be set up once in SAP.

Mandatory Organizational Elements

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

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).
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.

In general, a BP Role corresponds to a business context in which a business partner can appear and provide the application-specific data. A business partner can have several roles, such as a FI Vendor (FI-AP), FI Customer (FI-AR), Customer (SD), or Supplier (MM).

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

Further Details about Components

Let’s have a look at these components in more detail.

A Business Partner can only be linked to one BP Category, that is, either the partner is a person or an organization. The category determines the fields that 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 number of the business partner; therefore, it cannot be changed after the BP has been created.

A business partner 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 its 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 Customer (Fin. Accounting), 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 customer 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 sales department have different requirements that are handled in SAP through 2 different modules: (FI and SD). This will result in the usage of 2 different roles if the same customer 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 sales department.

Create Customer Master Data

Your company gained a new customer in Germany. You have been asked to create the new Business Partner record in the system. Assign the Customer (Fin.Accounting) business partner role and extend the Customer to Company Code 1010.

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