Ask the FI/CO Expert: Even in Release 4.6, Your End Users' Choice of an A/R Posting Key Has a Surprising Impact on Standard Reports Such as the "Customer Analysis" Net Sales Columns

  • by Kurt Goldsmith, Senior Business Consultant, Enowa Consulting
  • February 15, 2003
A hidden relationship between the data entry field called "posting key" and several R/3 standard reports can affect sales or payment data.
Key Concept


Dear FI/CO Expert,

Our company offers some of our customers a rebate if their net sales for the year (sales order billings, less any product returns or credit memo adjustments) exceed a target figure. Every month or so, I get phone calls from customers asking me what their current net sales number is. The A/R module has a standard report called Customer Analysis (transaction code FD11) that has a nice and simple-to-access screen that shows sales for that customer. It seems to actually net out the sales billings and the credit memos/returns, which is perfect for what I need. But for some customers, this net sales figure is correct, and for others it is not correct.
What am I missing?

Linda Martin (A/R Credit Manager)


Thanks for your question. The cause of your mystery is a hidden relationship between the data entry field called “posting key” and several R/3 standard reports, including the standard report that you’re trying to use to answer your customers’ net sales questions. Ironically, with Release 4.6 (the version meant to make R/3 more user-friendly), this particular relationship actually became more, rather than less, hidden.

On the A/R side, impacted standard reports include anything that offers information about sales to customers, or about payments by customers. This is why I thought your question would make for a good “Ask the Expert” article—almost every site with R/3 uses the A/R module standard reports. The way that R/3 decides whether to consider debit and credit postings to customer accounts as “sales” vs. “payments” vs. “neither” is simple to understand ... once I show you the hidden relationship.

The easiest way to see this is through an example. I’ll explain by showing you screenprints from two different debit postings to the same customer. In one case, R/3 will populate a subsidiary sales ledger where the specific standard report (FD11) you’re asking about gets its data. In the second posting, this update won’t happen. The only difference will be my choice of a posting key—a choice that can be confusing to the end user in Release 4.6.

Kurt Goldsmith

Kurt Goldsmith is a senior business consultant for Enowa Consulting, specializing in the diagnosis and resolution of productivity-related integration issues between a company’s division of labor (end users, managers, executives) and SAP software (R/3, BW, APO, CRM). He also has a lifetime performance record of one win and two third-place finishes from five career starts as a thoroughbred racehorse trainer.

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