Person accounts are an account type that feature a 1:1 relationship with a single contact. In this format, account and contact information have the ability to blend together seamlessly. This 1:1 relationship can be replicated without necessarily using Person Accounts, but Person Accounts are natively supported and should be recommended where possible.
Instead of linking Contacts to a company or organization, Person Accounts represent an individual, while maintaining the same standard Account functionality. When dealing with related objects and lookup fields, Person Accounts can still use what is available for regular Accounts and Contacts, but also offer the potential for additional benefits.
Layouts are one key reason as to why to use Person Accounts as they can include both Account and Contact fields. This philosophically makes a lot of sense for most B2C situations where the separation between Account and Contact fields can become a little fuzzy. Overall, it allows you to model your business around the individual instead of trying to force your data to fit into a B2B bucket that might not be ideal for your particular use case. Person Accounts provide the flexibility to act as an Account or as a Contact depending on the situation.
Storage space is often seen as the one key disadvantage to Person Accounts. In order to act as both an Account and a Contact, Person Account records count as a record for both objects. This can be particularly burdensome for companies that are already running low on storage space in Salesforce. In order to mitigate this, Salesforce can offset the additional storage usage by allowing ancillary objects of the Person Account record to be excluded from storage usage counts.
Person accounts also can not be directly associated with other accounts in a hierarchy system and can not be turned off once enabled. There are workarounds to mitigate these issues, but they should definitely be considered prior to making the change.
Previously, enabling Personal Account was a bit more involved. Now however, your admin is able to enable Person Accounts directly in setup. This means that an administrator can enable Person Accounts at any time without needing to wait on Salesforce support to activate it. As stated previously though, Person Accounts can not be turned off, so proper research and consideration should happen prior to activation.
Once Person Accounts are enabled, you’ll have access to the unique setup page for record types, page layouts and compact layouts. Other setup and configuration items will still be found directly on the Account setup page. This means Person Accounts will not actually show up as a separate object in the Object Manager.
In terms of automation, not much will change compared to using standard Accounts. When building Triggers and Flows, Person Accounts will still utilize the Account object. If you want to filter down to just Person Accounts though, you can! The “IsPersonAccount” flag is available for you to easily differentiate Person Accounts from regular Accounts whenever you need to.
While Person Accounts sometimes emulate Contacts, they will not be affected by Contact object automation. This means that automation built around the Contact will not fire when a Person Account is created or updated.
As a quick recap, here are some important highlights on using Person Accounts
Person Accounts are already used in many of the industry-centric Salesforce models such as Financial Services, Healthcare & Life Sciences, and Retail & Consumer Goods.
If you have questions on Person Accounts, contact us to discuss your specific needs.