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SAP CO-PA Characteristics Derivation

SAP CO-PA Characteristics Derivation

We have already gone through the Characteristics in SAP CO-PA.

Characteristics are dimensions available for Profitability Analysis. Characteristics are part of the basic structure of Operating Concern or CO-PA as a whole. They contain information which is generally derived from various master data. For e.g. Customer Partner Function, Material Type etc. 

During transaction processing there are certain characteristics that are automatically transferred from the originating module to CO-PA. Characteristics Derivation is a process that helps us to determine other information which some how is linked to the already transferred characteristics.

In this post we will try to understand this basic yet very important feature of SAP that helps us get tremendous amount of information by putting in a little effort.


The basic purpose of Characteristics Derivation is entry of minimal entries manually and automated derivation of remaining characteristics based on defined logic.

The inflow of data for CO-PA can be bifurcated into following:

  1. Manual Account Assignment

  2. Automatic Transfer of Data

How Derivation helps

Lets see what kind of data is included in both of the above 

Manual Account Assignment

  1. Settlement of Orders

  2. Direct Postings from FI

  3. Manual CO-PA Line Items

  4. Manual Planning

In the case of Manual Account Assignment only a few characteristics are to be entered manually. Based on these manually entered characteristics, system will fetch many other characteristics using derivation.

Automatic Transfer

  1. Billing Document

  2. Transferring Overheads

  3. External Data

For billing data and Transfer of Overheads most of the information is provided automatically and derivation can be designed for those not available as part of standard derivation.

With regards to the external data as the data flows from external system, the availability of profitability characteristics is highly under question. In such cases we get a few information and based on them the remaining data is filled with the help of Characteristics Derivation.


As a part of standard system when we generate the operating concern SAP helps us with providing certain standard derivation steps. These steps contain all the derivation for known characteristics

Given below is the list of standard derivation steps available after generation of the operating concern:

  1. Division from product

  2. Company code from plant

  3. Material Group from Product number

  4. Controlling area from company code

  5. Sales Document Type from Sales Order Number

These and all other characteristics derivation available as part of standard system prove very instrumental in our day to day work.

Types of Characteristics

CO-PA has following types of characteristics available for use:


  1. Fixed characteristics

  2. Predefined characteristics

Custom defined

  1. Adopting characteristics from SAP tables

  2. Custom Characteristics

Following graphic will explain above further

COPA Characteristics Derivation

Types of Derivation

SAP has following types of Derivation possible

  1. Derivation rule

  2. Table Lookups

  3. Moves

  4. Clear

  5. Customer hierarchy

  6. Customer Enhancement

 We will discuss in detail about all the above derivation types in the upcoming post.

It is important to decide which Derivation Type will be suitable for the requirement. Please go through information on all the derivation Types which will help you in making up your mind towards the type to be used.




Derivation Types

#COPACharacteristics #SAPCOPA #COPACharacteristicsDerivation #SAPFI #SAP #SAPCO

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