Why use a “Person Account” for B2C models?

Person Accounts are useful for modeling B2C behavior when there is no obvious relation using the default Accounts and Contacts (such as a student applying to your school; or Yelp model)

  • Must be specifically enabled by request. Cannot be disabled.
  • Person Accounts allow you to utilize the existing Account object to model the relationship side-by-side with the standard “Business to Business” (B2B) Salesforce model.
  • Person Accounts introduce a new ‘Account Record Type’ to your Salesforce.com instance.
  • When a new Person Account is created, a ‘matching’ Contact is created, but is not accessible to the user or Person Account.
  • PersonAccount entity has 2 Ids : Id and PersonContactId

Additional benefits:

  • Person Accounts support Opportunities
  • Supports direct add to Contracts
  • Information shows on Account and Contact reports
  • Simple (and different Import Wizard) data import with Contact fields
  • Supports Contracts
  • Contact fields directly accessible via Apex through single Account instance

Cons (in order of importance)

  1. Must leave Company field blank during Lead conversion or a regular Account will be created
  2. DML operations do not activate Contact triggers or workflows, only Accounts
  3. OWD sharing for contacts is set to Controlled by Parent and is not editable
  4. Only show in searches for Accounts and not Contact
  5. Can only be merged with another Person Accoun
  6. Requires two objects for storage (one Account and Contact per Person Account)
  7. 3rd party applications
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