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.