Michael Baumgartner
Author: Michael Baumgartner
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Doc­u­ment Types vs. Doc­u­ment Cat­e­gories in Pro­cure­ment

This article will demonstrate the difference between Purchasing Document Category (EKKO_BSTYP) and Purchasing Document Type (EKKO_BSART) which can be found in table EKKO. The table EKKO includes the header data of all purchasing documents. Which documents are concretely concerned, will be described in the following chapters.

Con­tents of ta­ble EKKO

The purchasing documents are stored in tables EKKO (document header) and EKPO (document items), this means that information in table EKKO is valid for the total document (e.g. vendor, purchasing document type, purchasing document category) whereas table EKPO contains item specific information (e.g. quantity, material, net value).

The documents are classified by the purchasing document category and the purchasing document type. These terms are shortly explained in the following paragraph:

The purchasing document category serves as distinctive feature for economic processes. The properties were defined by SAP® and cannot be changed. The document category F (= Purchase Order) is used in most cases, furthermore the document types A (= Inquiry), K (= Contract) as well as L (= Scheduling Agreement) can appear. There are specific transaction codes per purchasing document category:

  • Create/Change/Display Purchase Order: ME21N/ME22N/ME23N
  • Create/Change/Display Request for Quotation: ME41/ME42/ME43
  • Create/Change/Display Contract: ME31K/ME32K/ME33K
  • Create/Change/Display Scheduling Agreement: ME31L/ME32L/ME33L

Purchasing document types are classifications of purchasing document categories. However document types can be created and adjusted in the customizing. The purchasing document type defines which number range is used, which interval the item numbers should have and which item categories are allowed. Purchasing document types can also serve as distinctive feature in analyses. For instance, the total value of standard purchase orders and the total value of stock transport orders can be calculated. The following figure shows document types which are defined for the purchasing document category F.

Figure 1 - Document types of purchasing document category F

Com­pa­ring the pur­chas­ing doc­u­ment cat­e­gories pur­chase or­der and con­tract

To figure out the meaning of purchasing document categories, the difference between purchase order and contract will be explained for instance.

The contract is an agreement with a vendor to deliver certain goods or services. You differ between a quantity contract which determines the total quantity to be delivered in the timeline and a value contract which determines the total value of deliveries and services. A contract does not trigger the delivery of goods or services but the quantity respectively the value is agreed which will be ordered in a certain timeline.

A purchase order triggers the actual delivery or provision of the goods or the services. The purchase order is followed by the processes goods receipt and invoice receipt. In many cases, a purchase order is referring to a contract.

The following example shows a purchase order which refers to a contract.

Figure 2 - Standard Purchase Order, Part 1

If we scroll to the right, we see the contract number 4600000003 in the field Outline Agreement.

Figure 3 - Standard Purchase Order, Part 2

If we double-click this field, we get to the contract display (Transaction ME33K).

Figure 4 - Display contract

This is a quantity contract because the field Agreement Type is filled by the value “MK”. It is agreed here that totally 20 000 pieces to a price of 2.56 Euro per piece should be purchased.

Con­sider­a­tion of pur­chas­ing doc­u­ment cat­e­gories in an­a­ly­ses

As already mentioned, purchase orders, inquiries, contracts and scheduling agreements are included in table EKKO. The distinctive feature is the purchase document category (field BSTYP). When analyzing data it is important that the purchase order categories are handled separate. A few examples will be listed:

If the purchase order amount per vendor should be calculated, the purchasing document must be filtered to the purchase order category F before the net value is totaled.

If the purchase orders should be compared with the corresponding contracts, two tables must be created out of table EKKO whereat one table contains the purchase orders and the other table contains the contracts. Afterwards, the purchase orders can be related to the contracts by relating the field KONNR in the purchase orders with the field EBELN in the contracts.


The article has shown that the terms “Document Category” and “Document Type” must not be mixed. Document categories represent different economic processes whereas document types serve as classifications of document categories.

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