Inheriting Characteristic Values in CO-PA

by Paul Ovigele

December 6, 2011

Paul Ovigele, Ovigele Consulting

In my previous blog, I describe how you can derive a partner function from the header or line item level of a sales order. The CO-PA characteristic that is used as a target field in the derivation, can either be a system characteristic or a user-defined one (which begins with “WW”). If you want to use a system characteristic then you do not read to create a derivation, since the CO-PA reference table “PAPARTNER” contains the basic partner functions that you can report on.  If however, you use a user-defined characteristic, you may find that you have the issue of not inheriting the text that comes with the field that you are deriving. A user-defined characteristic either inherits its text from the source tale that it is based on, or needs to have its characteristic values entered manually using transaction KES1. Unless the characteristic values do not appear anywhere else in the system, you would normally want to pull the values from a source table, otherwise you will end up updating two tables (the source table and the CO-PA table) anytime there is a change or addition to the data.

Firstly, let’s talk about the nature of the field that is used in the partner function table. Taking two common examples of partner functions – Ship-To Party and Salesperson, you could either have a value based on a customer field (KUNNR) or one based on a personnel number field (PERNR). You will notice that in my previous blog, target field was based on the personnel number. This means that the sales people were set up as master data objects in the Human Resources (HR) module.

With a user-defined characteristic, you will need to specify where the system will pull the text values from, otherwise you will be left with only the characteristic value and not the description. For example, if the salesperson’s number and name is “00001 – John Adams”, the system will derive the value “00001” only. The key to dealing with this issue is to set up the characteristic and specify the relevant check table, text table and text field accordingly. If the characteristic has already been created you will notice the the check table, text table and text fields are grayed out and cannot be modified. You will therefore need to update the field catalog directly.

To update the field catalog you would need to go to transaction SM30 and enter table V_TKEF and click on the “Maintain” button. You can then scroll to the characteristic that you want to modify and double-click on the relevant line. You will then notice that the fields for check and text table/fields are open for modification. You can then enter the relevant values (you would need to find out the relevant table/fields to enter for that characteristic. This can be obtained by looking at a similar characteristic and copying the values that exist there).

You can then save the settings in the field catalog and regenerate the operating concern so that the correct characteristic values are adopted when the field is derived.

For more information on how to optimize your SAP Financials landscape, I've put together my top tips in the book 100 Things You Should Know About Financial Accounting with SAP  which is published by SAP Press.

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