2.1 Capture Trading Partner on transactions
Trading Partner is a term used in trade and commerce and can be generally defined as “one of the two or more participants in an ongoing business relationship.”
Trading Partner has a similar meaning in the context of SAP Finance and Controlling; it speaks about the business relationship among company codes (generally referred to as intercompany postings). The requirement is to capture Trading Partner (field VBUND) at the relevant master data and transactional data. This data can then be used to consolidate financial statements as well as reporting.
“Given that we have a lot of intercompany transactions between NCL and GCI, we would like to enforce a system check to ensure Trading Partner is accurately captured,” Bob explained to Alex. “Can you work with Erin to explore what options do we have to achieve this?”
“Yes, this was one of the concerns I had as well. I am sure there is a way to implement a check; perhaps we can look at field status groups. I will check with Erin,” Alex replied.
“Field status is actually not a full-proof option for Trading Partner,” Erin told Alex that afternoon. “Let me explain why,” she continued.
2.1.1 Trading Partner (Company) setup
The Trading Partner field is defined in the configuration node for “Company” (field RASSC).
- Transaction OX15—Define Company (updates table T880)
- Transaction OX16—Assign Company code to Company
Company is set up using configuration transaction OX15. SAP menu path for company setup: Tools • Customizing • IMG • SPRO Execute Project • Enterprise Structure • DEFINITION • Financial Accounting • OX15—Define company
Company code is assigned to company using configuration transaction OX16. SAP menu path for company setup: Tools • Customizing • IMG • SPRO Execute Project • Enterprise Structure • Assignment • Financial Accounting • OX16—Assign company code to company
2.1.2 Trading Partner maintenance in master data
Once Trading Partner is maintained in relevant intercompany customers, vendors and GL Accounts—its data flows automatically to the transactions.
- Transaction FK02—Vendor Master (updates table LFA1) Transaction FD02—Customer Master (updates table KNA1)
- Transaction FS00—GL Account Master Data (updates table SKA1)
However, there may be instances where a GL Account may have transactions for both intercompany as well as third party scenarios (e.g., interest on loans and advances). It may not always be possible to define separate GL Accounts for each scenario; doing so may lead to a proliferation of GL Accounts. Since the Trading Partner is not maintained on GL Account master data in such a situation, Trading Partner will need to be explicitly entered at the transaction processing level. It is possible that the Trading Partner will be missed on certain transactions, thereby leading to inconsistencies and downstream impact on consolidations.
2.1.3 Making Trading Partner a required entry
How can we make Trading Partner a required entry while posting financial accounting documents for certain GL Accounts?
There are three possible ways to do so:
Field Status Group
There is a general belief among the SAP community that the field status group can be used to make certain fields required, optional, display, or suppressed by using field status definition (many a times inter-changeably referred as field status group or field status variant). However, not all fields are available in the field status group—Trading Partner is one such field that is not a part of the field status group.
Trading Partner (VBUND) can be enabled in Field Status Group by adding it in table TCOBF (Coding Block: Assignment of Modif and Field Names from COBL). With this change, field status groups can now be leveraged to influence Trading Partner (suppressed/required/optional). However, this option is not recommended by SAP. It may create inconsistencies while posting FI documents (SAP Note 1397715 “Adding VBUND to the coding block”2)
- Transaction OBC4—Field Status variants
- Transaction OB14—Field Status definition
- Transaction OB41—Field Status groups (Posting Key level)
Document Types can be configured such that Trading Partner will be available for input. Following fields need to be activated in the Document Type setup. This setup will open up Trading Partner at the document level. However, it does not make Trading Partner a required entry.
- Transaction OBA7—Document Types (underlying table T003)
- Partner company can be input (T003-XMGES)
- Cross-company (T003-XGSUB)
FI validation can be used to prevent document postings where Trading Partner is missing for certain GL Accounts.
- Transaction OB28—Financial Accounting validation
The SAP menu path for validation setup in Financial Accounting is: Tools • Customizing • IMG • SPRO Execute Project • Financial Accounting (New) • Financial Accounting Global Settings (New) • Tools • Validation/Substitution • OB28—Validation in Accounting Documents
A validation in FI has three sections: Prerequisite, Check, and Message. These sections are explained below with examples. Sets are maintained using transaction GS01.
The SAP menu path for setup of sets is: Accounting • Controlling • Cost Element Accounting • Information System • Tools • Report Painter • Report Writer • Set • GS01—Create
- For certain set of accounts (defined in set “ZGL_TRAD_PART_REQD”—Figure 2.1)
Figure 2.1: GS01/GS02—Create/Maintain set for GL Accounts checked for Trading Partner
- For certain sets of users (defined in set “ZUSR_TRAD_PART_REQD”—Figure 2.2)
Figure 2.2: GS01/GS02—Create/Maintain set for users checked for Trading Partner
- For certain document types (defined in set “ZDOC_TYPE_TRAD_PART_REQD”—Figure 2.3)
Figure 2.3: GS01/GS02—Create/Maintain set for Document Types checked for Trading Partner
- If Trading Partner is blank
- If Prerequisite is met and Check is not fulfilled, then it will return an error with an appropriate message. In this case, error message Z1 032 was defined as, “Trading Partner is required for GL
Implication: User cannot move forward with this transaction until Trading Partner is entered.
Figure 2.4 has a snapshot of the validation step for the Trading Partner required field.
Figure 2.4: OB28: Trading Partner validation setup
Erin summarized her findings.
- Given the shortcomings of Field Status Group and Document Type options, these two options are generally not preferred.
- FI validations are easy to configure and maintain because they normally do not require ABAP programming unless a user-exit or table-lookup are to be used.
- A validation to ensure Trading Partner is entered in relevant intercompany transactions will go a long way in ensuring data consistency and accuracy for financial consolidation.
“That makes sense to me.” Alex was happy to find a proven system solution that would work well for transactions between GCI and NCL.
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