Working with Business Partners in SAP S/4HANA


After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Work with business partners in SAP S/4HANA

The Business Partner (BP) Approach

Business Partners (BP) in SAP S/4HANA

See what Paige has to say about the use of business partners in SAP S/4HANA:

From a technical perspective, the customizing object that you use to control customers and vendors in SAP ERP still exists in SAP S/4HANA. This is the account group and it is still needed for specific determination logic, such as controlling partner functions.

SAP ERP has some customer or vendor object model limitations:

  • Only one single address per master record is available.

  • There is no relation between a vendor and a customer for the same real world entity (no role concept).

  • You cannot model persons.

  • You cannot model time-dependency.

BPs in SAP S/4HANA have the following features:

  • Different roles share general data.

  • One BP can perform multiple roles, for example, customer and vendor (supplier).

  • One BP can have multiple addresses.

  • Time-dependent object attributes and relationships can be modeled.

  • They support a harmonized architecture across the whole system.

  • You create contact persons as separate BPs, linked with relationships.

The Customer/Vendor Integration (CVI) component ensures synchronization between BP objects and customer/vendor objects in the system. The customer and vendor master data tables are updated automatically after a BP is created or changed.

Using Customer/Vendor Integration (CVI)

The process steps for Customer/Vendor Integration (CVI) are: preparation, synchronization, conversion and post processing/testing.

Executing the conversion from customers and/or vendors to BPs requires multiple steps:

  1. Preparation:

    • Implement SAP S/4HANA pre-checks according to the 'SAP S/4HANA Conversion Guide', in the 'Pre-Checks' chapter.

    • Activate the CA_BP_SOA business function.

    • Check CVI customizing and trigger any necessary changes. For example, the missing BP role category.

    • Define number assignments according to the 'SAP S/4HANA Conversion Guide', in the 'Introduce Business Partner Approach (CVI)' chapter.

    First, you must implement a number of pre-checks. Next, you must activate business function CA_BP_SOA , check the CVI Customizing, and trigger any necessary changes. You must define number assignments according to the conversion guide.

  2. Synchronization:

    You use the synchronization cockpit (transaction MDS_LOAD_COCKPIT) to synchronize the data (data load). For more, go to the chapter 'Introduce Business Partner Approach' of the 'SAP S/4HANA Conversion Guide'.

  3. Conversion:

    The conversion step is part of the system conversion from the SAP ERP system to SAP S/4HANA, on-premise. No additional CVI action is required.

  4. Post Processing and Testing:

    Finally, you must activate the post-processing direction BP to customer/vendor.

There is no impact on custom code. You need not adapt the custom code call to the previously used transaction codes because automatic redirection is in place.

Any interface for creating or updating customer or vendor master data has to now call CVI function CVI_EI_INBOUND_MAIN. You can no longer use IDocs or BAPIs for customer/vendor creation that do not call the CVI function CVI_EI_INBOUND_MAIN.

Business Partner Creation in SAP S/4HANA

One way to create BPs in SAP S/4HANA, is by using the SAP Graphical User Interface (SAP GUI) and entering the transaction code BP in the command field.

When doing this for a supplier, you need to create three types of data:

  1. Client level data for the Organization with role 0000000 Business Partner (Gen.).

  2. Purchasing data for all Purchasing Organizations with role FLVN01 Supplier. If additional data for subranges is required, the subranges themselves and the subrange data can be defined in one step.

  3. Accounting data for all Company Codes with role FLVN00 FI Vendor.

Another way to create BPs in the SAP S/4HANA system is by using the Manage Supplier Master Data app. This app allows a system user to create all data in one step. You only need to maintain the roles FLVN00 FI Vendor and FLVN01 Supplier. The role containing the general data is created automatically.

Business Partner Relationships


A BP relationship represents the business connection between two BPs.


To create a relationship between two BPs, you must assign a BP relationship category to the BP relationship. The BP relationship category describes the characteristics of the BP relationship.

You can assign attributes to a relationship, such as a firm’s address for the contact person relationship. This prevents data being stored redundantly.

You can limit a relationship time by entering the start date and end date of the relationship. With this limit, it is possible to get an overview of periods, for example, periods in which certain BPs were contact persons for a company.


You make necessary settings for relationships in the Implementation Guide (IMG) in customizing of the business partner under Business Partner Relationships.

An Example:

Ms. Lopez at Hansen PLC is the contact person for company Smith PLC.

You create Ms. Lopez as a BP of the BP category Person and with the BP role BUP001 Contact Person.

You then create a contact person relationship with the relationship category is contact person of between BP Lopez (having the BP category Person) and BP Hansen PLC (having the BP category Organization).

The firm’s address is assigned to Ms. Lopez and more data is created, such as the calling and visiting hours.

Business Partner Grouping and Customizing Settings

A business partner has a grouping, which links to an account group. When creating a business partner, one or more business partner roles need to be selected.

You determine the number range of a BP by a grouping, which you must select for a BP on the client level.

To define and analyze these groupings, you can use the following menu path in customizing: SAP Customizing Implementation GuideCross Application ComponentsSAP Business PartnerBusiness PartnerBasic SettingsNumber Ranges and GroupingsDefine Groupings and Assign Number Ranges.

The assignment of BPs to groupings is stored in table BUT000.

You can display the assigned account group on the general vendor data tab page within the BP role Supplier.

You can maintain field selection for BPs under: IMGCross Application ComponentsSAP Business PartnerBusiness PartnerBasic SettingsField Groupings. You can define field attributes at the levels of client, BP role, activity, and BP type. If different settings are maintained for the same field, priority rules apply.

The field selection priority rules within BP roles differ from the standard rules. In the standard logic, HIDE has the highest priority, followed by DISPLAY, MANDATORY, and OPTIONAL.

For BP roles, MANDATORY (Required Entry) has the highest priority, followed by OPTIONAL, DISPLAY and HIDE. For example, the Internet Mail Address (E-Mail) field is set as a required entry (MANDATORY) for the BP role FLVN00 FI Vendor and as a hidden entry (HIDE) for the BP role FLVN01 Supplier. When you maintain any supplier in the system, the field is a required entry, no matter which role you maintain.

Internally in the system, the BP still has an account group. The account group depends on the grouping and is assigned in table TBC001. To maintain this table, navigate to SAP Customizing Implementation GuideCross Application ComponentsMaster Data SynchronizationCustomer/Vendor IntegrationBusiness Partner SettingsSettings for Vendor IntegrationField Assignment for Vendor IntegrationAssign KeysDefine Number Assignment for Direction BP to Vendor.

The Same Numbers check box in this activity decides whether BP master records and suppliers have the same numbers. If the check box is not selected, the number for the supplier is assigned through the account group.

Purchasing Categories in SAP S/4HANA

Examples of purchasing categories are shown: metal parts, plastic parts and electric parts.

Purchasing categories are an SAP S/4HANA-specific business entity. Material groups can be assigned to purchasing categories to help organize and analyze spend. Purchasing categories are, for example, used in supplier evaluations and in real-time analytics for purchasing, where they can be used for drill-down and filtering.

Examples of purchasing categories could be plastic parts, metal parts, or chemicals. Besides material groups and planned spend, suppliers and employees can also be assigned to purchasing categories. A supplier can be assigned to several purchasing categories if required.

Create a new Business Partner and Explore its Configuration

Create a new Business Partner and Explore its Configuration - Part 1

Create a new Business Partner and Explore its Configuration - Part 2

Create a new Business Partner and Explore its Configuration - Part 3

Log in to track your progress & complete quizzes