Goods Receipt based Invoice Verification (yes, but not literally)
As a first attempt at blogging, I wanted to both clarify a specific topic from a technical point of view and also trigger a discussion if SAP could go further in this topic for the future.
Simplified base precondition: purchase of valued stock item with GR-based Invoice flag active: PO-GR-IR.
Goods Receipt based Invoice verification (the common term is already tricky for non-native English speakers), as the name suggests the Invoice is to be verified against the Goods Receipt. Fine, looks pretty much self-explanatory. So why are there recuring questions on how to link the Invoice with the Goods Receipt?
The reason is simple: from a technical point of view SAP links both the Goods Receipt and the Invoice Receipt to a Purchase Document item (a hard link), apart from this everything else is based on content and not a real 1-1 unique link. There´s not one hard table 1-1 link between the GR document and the IR document (MSEG and RSEG in R/3, or MATDOC and ACDOCA in S/4).
In the simplest of cases, let´s say: PO to buy one bike, bike is delivered, Invoice is received. All clear.
We can now build up from this example: what if the PO has quantity 10, we got partial GRs of 6 in total so far and got a first Invoice of quantity 3… when calling the PO in Invoice verification the system will let you know there are 6 units “ready” for invoice, it would even detail the GRs. Sure enough the Invoice from your Vendor will most probably include info on which Outbound Delivery of them this Invoice refers to (on top of referring to the original PO info).
Further complications ahead could be added like bulk/recurring deliveries, invoicing based on time periods, etc…
The way we wish to inbound the goods into our storage could also conflict with the outbound partner information that bases their Invoice data (example: we want to split the 10 qty of the Vendor Outbound delivery into 2 separate Goods Receipt for two separate Storage Locations). This means that the itemization in the Invoice (RSEG) might not fully match the “paperwork Invoice” supplied by the Vendor in their Billing document, but only as a whole document.
The most accurate technical way to find which GRs relate to a given Invoice would be to either lookup the EKBE history table at item level or to read the RSEG table entries matching the Reference and Item fields.
While each RSEG item only points to one PO/MSEG item entry, one PO/MSEG item entry can point to several RSEG documents (to be shown in frontend PO history tab in any case).
Side note: when using standard Intercompany flows with both parties in the same instance the linkage is much simpler. I´ve also came across a custom Intercompany process in which the Vendor had more product attributes that were not relevant for the Customer, so there were parallel PO and SO documents with the later one having more items than the PO, a custom item link made sure a match existed so this could be brought up for subsequent document postings.
- The GR-based IR also influences FI posting valuation, but this was not relevant for this exercise.
- Why would one wish/expect to have a hard 1-1 link between GR-IR? What would be the benefit? Could this be achieved without a closer relationship between the parties?
- Can we reach a future situation in which partners in different instances can share more info online via a API/EDI world (creating a shared link between Inbound and Outbound delivery)?
- I´d love to know more about the application of smart contracts (blockchain technology) on how partners interact / increase their levels of trust.