Expand +



Deriving Partner Functions Correctly in CO-PA

by Paul Ovigele

December 4, 2011

Paul Ovigele, Ovigele Consulting

An area which normally causes confusion in CO-PA is where a derivation needs to be made for a partner function. For those who do not know what a partner function is, it is a separate master record that is linked to a customer which represents a function that is carried out for that customer. Examples of Partner Functions are Ship-To Party, Bill-To Party, Forwarding Agent, Payer or Salesperson. These partner functions are entered in the “Partner Function” tab of the ‘Sales Area Data’ section of the customer master, and are therefore inherited when a sales order is created for that customer. They can also be entered directly in the sales order, which will override the entry in the customer master.

To create a derivation for a partner function field (for example, salesperson) you would need to go to the following configuration menu path (transaction SPRO):

Controlling -> Profitability Analysis -> Master data -> Define Characteristic Derivation

You then enter the relevant Operating Concern and then click on the “Display <-> Change” and then the “Create Step” buttons. You can then click on the ‘Table Lookup’ radio button and press the ‘Enter’ key. Enter the table name “VBPA” and press the ‘Enter’ key. Note that table VBPA contains the partner function field in the sales order. The reason why using this table is preferable to using the one for the customer master (KNVP) is because (as mentioned above) the partner function field can be changed on th e sales order, which will override the one in the customer master. Enter a description for the derivation step, and fill out the assignment table as below:

Source Field name

CO-PA Field Name

Name (Constant)



Sales Order Number



Item Number (00000)







Target Field Name

CO-PA Field Name





The explanation of the above table is as follow. From table VBPA), you are checking the Sales Order number, where the item number is “00000” (which means there is no item number, hence the header data of the sales order partner function is used) and the partner function value (which is stored in a temporary CO-PA field (GLOBAL USERTEMP1) is “ZM”. If you want to know what the equivalent of “ZM” is in your system, go to the table VBPA and enter a sales order number and press the execute button. Look for the relevant partner function identifier, which is in the third column of the table called “Function” (for example “SH” is for ship-to party, “SP” for sold-to party, “ER” for employee responsible, etc.). Double click on the relevant line and for the partner function ID, look at the column “Value Unconverted” and pick up the value shown in that field. The target field (CO-PA-WWTNR in this example) a user-defined characteristic that represents the partner function (salesperson in our example) that you want to derive.

You will also need to create a derivation st ep in case the partner function was entered in the line item section of the sales order. This looks almost exactly as above, the only difference is that you should not define a constant for the sales order line (VBPA-KDPOS), hence allowing the system to use the line item number of the sales order to derive the partner function.

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.

An email has been sent to:

More from SAPinsider


Please log in to post a comment.

No comments have been submitted on this article. Be the first to comment!