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Defining Business Transaction Variants in the SAP General Ledger

by Paul Ovigele

November 6, 2011

Paul Ovigele, Ovigele Consulting

During my session “Accelerate local and global financial closes and period-end reports with improved integration between profit center accounting and the general ledger” in the Reporting & Analytics conference, a question came up about the purpose of business transaction variants in document splitting. To explain how business transaction variants work, you will first need to understand how business transactions are used.

Business transactions in the SAP General Ledger are specific events that lead to the update of values in financial accounting. You can think of them as classifications of accounting postings such as vendor invoices, vendor payments, bank clearing, etc. They also help you to define the logic for document splitting. For example, if the business transaction is a vendor invoice, the system has a predefined logic for how the vendor line on the invoice should inherit its account assignment from the offsetting line(s) on the invoice. A typical example is where the vendor line inherits the profit center from the material (the inventory account that is assigned to the valuation class of the material) that is purchased during an invoice posting. The document type for vendor invoice postings (normally KR or RE) are linked to business transactions and business transaction variants in the following configuration menu path (SPRO):

Financial Accounting (New) -> General Ledger Accounting (New) -> Business Tra nsactions -> Document Splitting -> Classify Document Types for Document Splitting

Here you will see that (for example) document type KR (Vendor Invoice) is assigned to business transaction 0300 (Vendor Invoice) and business transaction variant 0001 (Standard). Business transactions are predefined by SAP and are not modifiable; therefore if you wanted to use a different document splitting logic for document type KR you cannot create a new business transaction to meet this requirement. Instead you should create a new business transaction variant and change the settings accordingly. To do this you need to go to configuration menu path (SPRO):

Financial Accounting (New) -> General Ledger Accounting (New) -> Business Transactions -> Document Splitting -> Extended Document Splitting -> Define Business Transaction Variants

Here you can click on the relevant business transaction (for example, 0300) and double-click on the folder “Accounting transaction variant”. Then you can click on the ‘New Entries’ button and enter a new variant and description. You can then highlight the new variant and double-click on the folder “Assigned item categories” and you will see all the item categories that are assigned to that business transaction. You can delete the item categories as required by clicking on the ‘Delete’ button, or add new ones by clicking on the ‘New Entries’ button and save your settings. This new business transaction variant will then need to be added to the relevant document type by going to the menu path for classifying document types for document splitting (mentioned above).

If you want the document type to use a different item category as a basis for document splitting, then you can create a new splitting rule and assign your new business transaction variant to it. To do this you need t o go to configuration menu path (SPRO):

Financial Accounting (New) -> General Ledger Accounting (New) -> Business Transactions -> Document Splitting -> Extended Document Splitting -> Define Document Splitting rule

The easiest way to define the new splitting rule would be to copy an existing one (for example, highlight splitting method/business transaction/variant: 0000000012/0300/0001 and click on the ‘Copy’ icon) and enter the new splitting method and assign your business transaction variant accordingly. You can then select the item categories to be edited and the base item categories that will meet your specific business requirement.

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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