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The vendor master record contains information about a vendor from a Purchasing and Accounting perspective. 
Data in the vendor master record is structured by organizational considerations:
General data is valid for the whole corporate group (client). This includes the vendor communication data, for example. 
Accounting data is stored at company code level (company) and with the general data.
Purchasing data on the vendor is managed separately for each purchasing organization, for example, payment conditions. General data is also relevant to Purchasing, for example, address data.
There are other levels for purchasing data, but which are optional (plant, vendor sub-range).
In Accounting, the vendor is regarded as the company\u2019s crediting business partner. The vendor master record is therefore maintained by Accounting and Purchasing.
You can use the R/3 System authorization concept to define how data maintenance should be organized in the vendor master record.
Each user department can maintain general data centrally or decentrally, as well as Purchasing and Accounting-specific data. Often, Purchasing also maintains data at corporate group level.
When creating a vendor master record, you have to enter an account group. The account group has controlling characteristics.
You can create special master records for vendors from whom you only procure a material once or very rarely. These are called one-time vendor master records and, in contrast to other master records, you can use a vendor master record for several vendors. Therefore, no vendor-specific data is stored for one-time vendors. You can control this using the relevant field selection for account groups for one-time vendors. 
When creating a purchasing document or accounting document with a one-time vendor, the system automatically goes to an additional data screen. This is where you enter specific data, such as the vendor's name, address, or bank details.
You can use a single one-time vendor master record to cover a number of vendors. You normally use one-time master records for \u201cone-time\u201d vendors.
When you create a vendor master record, you need a unique number for the vendor. Depending on the account group, the system assigns this automatically or the person responsible assigns it manually. The vendor number is also used as the subledger number in Financial Accounting. In subledger accounting, the total liabilities are updated per vendor.
When you create a vendor master record, you have to maintain a reconciliation account. The reconciliation account is a G/L account in G/L accounting. It maps a company's liabilities towards several vendors in G/L accounting.
When entering invoices, you enter the vendor, and the system uses the reconciliation account from the vendor master record. 
To help you create a vendor master record, you can use an existing vendor as a reference. The system prompts you to maintain the data (for example, address). The control data is copied from the reference, but you can overwrite it.
You can block the vendor master record (for example, for vendors who deliver products of poor quality). Once you have set the block indicator, you can no longer place purchase orders with this vendor. 
Note: In the source list, you can block a vendor for a single material.
The vendor can have various functions in its interaction with your company. For example, during the procurement transaction the vendor is the order recipient, then the supplier of goods, the invoicing party, and finally, the payee.
By maintaining partner roles in the vendor master record, you can distribute one or more of these roles among different vendor master records.
Partner roles can be used to represent different functions performed by business partners within the procurement process. The partner role defines the rights, duties and tasks of a partner in carrying out a business transaction.
The partner roles that exist within Materials Management include the following:
Ordering address
Goods supplier
Invoicing party
Different payee
Partners can be defined for partner roles at the level of the purchasing organization, the plant or the vendor sub-range.
Partners can be maintained for partner roles in the vendor master record or the purchasing document. If partners have been maintained in the vendor master record, they are suggested by the R/3 System in purchasing documents.
You can specify several partners for one partner role.
Partner roles are defined in Customizing and assigned to a partner type (for example, vendor or customer). The partner types that can be used are predetermined and cannot be changed.
For each vendor account group you specify which partner roles the vendors belonging to the account group may assume.
You can group different partner roles using a partner schema and specify, for example, that the partner cannot be changed after having been entered. Partner schemas are assigned to purchasing document types and vendor account groups.
As of Release 4.0A, you can specify when a partner role from the vendor master record (or, in the case of release orders, from the contract) is suggested:
At the start of the document entry process (after the fields on the initial screen have been filled)
At the end of the document entry process (when the document is checked/saved)
The latter approach is advantageous if you have maintained different data in the vendor master record \u2013 for example, at plant level. The R/3 System checks whether all document items have the same plant and then searches for partners that have been defined for the plant. 
As of Release 4.0A, you can specify whether the R/3 System is to carry on searching at higher levels if no partner is found at a given level (for example, plant).
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