In­voice date be­fore PO date

In this post, we dedicate ourselves to a popular question of the purchasing process:

"Where invoices received before the actual purchase order?"

This question is described below with reference to SAP content, but can be transferred and applied to any ERP systems.

The ultimate risk of this process deviation is that the actual release process of purchasing happens in the purchase order (or requisition). Thus orders with reviewable volume and its release can be circumvented.

First of all I want to point out that SAP is not technically possible to later register the reference of an incoming invoice to an order. Entering an invoice with reference to a purchase order is not possible in a SAP system before entering the actual purchase order.

So why does this case very often occur in business yet and how can documents with this process weakness be identified?

The steps of a pro­cess

The steps of a process usually run one after another, what makes it easy to order them by date. These key date fields are described below in their characteristics and handling.


When creating a purchase order the date is referred to as creation date (AEDAT) and is assigned by the system. So posting/entering of a purchase order can easily be determined. On the receipt of an invoice integration to financial accounting takes place and that is why we should focus on the following crucial date fields:


  • System date (CPUDT)
    It is the date of the receipt of invoice entered to the system, is assigned by the system and cannot be changed.

  • Posting date (BUDAT)
    This date determines in which period the stated amount has to be posted to. So it corresponds to the assignment of costs to a certain posting day and can be freely chosen within on open posting period by the agent.

  • Document date (BLDAT)
    Provides the date on the invoice paper of the vendor. Depending on the use of automatic detection mechanisms (invoice scan) a date is proposed, which can be changed at any time by the user.


The question is now, on what date the generating of the order is to be compared.

From a technical point of view the system date (CPUDT) makes no sense, since the invoice receipt can also be entered with an order reference only after generating the order, and thus the difference calculation would not provide results.

The comparison with the posting date (BUDAT) is of limited value, since this date is used for the classification in the accounting department, and it is very likely that within a period (month) not the exact date the receipt of invoice is entered. Rather you will find the last day of the required period, if a retrospective observation should be necessary at all.

In the end only the comparison on document date (BLDAT) leads to a result. The date on the original invoice document proves the actual date of the invoice. When the document date is older than the related purchase order (AEDAT), this is the indication that the invoice was received before the purchase order was entered. However, there is a restriction with this date. It can be manually entered and also editing is possible.

In summary this means that the difference between the invoice document date and the creation date of the purchase order is the most reasonable to be looked at. The fact of the possibility to edit this field loses impact, when clear findings prove this approach right.

Note: How to create date differences by means of analysis software like ACL can be referred to our post „ACL™ - Calculate Age“.

Should you have your own questions or proposals, that we can explain here, feel free to contact me at info@dab-gmbh.de.

Regards Florian Popan

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