Salesforce Person Accounts – Pros and Cons

By Jordyn Jaffer

There are divided viewpoints on Person Accounts in the Salesforce Community . Some view it as a risky or bad option for B2C companies, some support the functionality, and others have never even heard about Person Accounts!

My introduction to Person Accounts was during my first Salesforce position with the Atlanta Braves. As an organization that was both B2C and B2B, we considered Person Accounts to help manage the data for our individual customers. This idea was shot down pretty quickly by our Salesforce Developer who did not think Person Accounts were a good idea and wanted to avoid them at all costs. Through this experience, I also joined the portion of Salesforce professions that disliked Person Accounts and planned to avoid them for the remainder of my Salesforce career. This did not last long, and my opinion changed when I joined my current employer at the beginning of 2020, and was introduced to a Salesforce org that had Person Accounts enabled to help manage student data.

What is a Person Account and How is the Data Structured?

The Salesforce definition for Person Accounts is: “Person Accounts store information about individual people by combining certain Account and Contact fields into a single record.”

Another understanding of this is a marriage between Accounts and Contacts to form a single location for an individual’s data while also being flexible enough to act like an Account when necessary.

A user no longer has to associate a company with a Contact because the Contact gets automatically created and associated with the Account when a Person Account is created.

When a user tries to view a Contact associated with a Person Account, the user will be redirected to the Account (Person Account) record. This means the user only needs to navigate to the Accounts tab to manage both business Account records and their individual Accounts.

When accessing Person Accounts in Setup, I recommend that you switch over to the Salesforce Classic view as it is slightly easier to navigate to the Person Account configuration section than it would be in the Lightning Experience. A Person Account is not its own object, but it does have object features such as page layouts, compact layouts and record types. There is also a nice feature that will show you which of your Contact fields are used for Person Account records when looking at the Account fields list.

Using Leads with Person Accounts

Another way to understand Person Accounts is to view how they correspond with Leads in a Salesforce org. Any Salesforce professional that has worked with Leads understands that a company name is required to convert that Lead into a Contact that is associated with an Account for the company. This has frustrated some Salesforce Administrators who have users that put “dummy” information in the company field in order to convert their Lead. My previous company had over 1 million Contacts on a single “dummy” Account and it definitely caused performance issues when multiple Contacts associated with that Account were being accessed. Person Accounts help solve this problem by giving users to create Person Accounts straight from their Lead record.

In order to do this a user would leave the company field blank on their Lead and follow the normal conversion process to convert the Lead into a Person Account. Users are still able to convert Leads into Contacts with Business Accounts if the Company field is populated with a value.

When are Person Accounts a Good Fit for Your Organization

Person Accounts can benefit your organization, but it is not possible to disable the feature once you start using them. This means it is very important to do thorough research to determine if Person Accounts are a viable solution. Some of the questions that you should be asking during this research are:

  • Will I still need to use the Account object for Business Accounts?
  • Do I have enough storage in my Salesforce organization to support Person Accounts?
  • Do Person Accounts fit my current security and sharing setting?
  • Do I have APEX code on my Account or Contact objects that will need to be updated to fit this new feature?
  • Do I have a Sandbox Environment where I can fully test this feature before enabling it?

Disadvantages of Using Person Accounts

Even though Person Accounts are a great solution for some businesses or organizations, there are some disadvantages associated with them:

  • A Person Account record will actually count against your storage for both the Account and Contact object. This is because a Contact is automatically created when a Person Account is created. Organizations with a large amount of individual customers will need to keep this in mind when they consider Person Accounts.
  • When a user creates or edits a Person Account, all Account Flows are initiated. This could cause performance issues for Salesforce orgs that have a lot of automation in place for their Account object.
  • There are changes to the organization-wide sharing settings that must take place before Person Accounts are enabled. Organizations that don’t have a private sharing model or do not have Contacts set as “controlled by Parent” in their sharing settings are required to update their sharing model.
  • When creating/editing Person Account records, the following fields are not available:
    • Parent Account
    • View Hierarchy
    • Reports To

This is because a Person Account record cannot have a field that looks up to another Person Account record.


Person Accounts are not as risky as some Salesforce professionals have stated in the past and could actually be a great solution for certain businesses. Small and mid-sized companies that are mainly business to consumer should consider Person Accounts to streamline their Sales Operations. As with any feature or product, there are some disadvantages that should be reviewed before making any decisions.

The Author

Jordyn Jaffer

Jordyn Jaffer is a 9x Certified Salesforce Administrator and Marketing Champion with a specialization in Pardot.


    February 24, 2021 3:47 pm
    Very true! actually the feature of using person accounts is on Pardot as well, and once it´s activated, there´s no turning back, but in Pardot´s case, it will create person accounts instead of leads.
    Sandra Schanzer
    February 25, 2021 12:41 am
    I want to convert person accounts to account and contact. I've seen some suggested techniques but nothing works easily. Has anyone been successful and if so, could we talk?
    Patricia Boyce
    March 03, 2021 5:20 pm
    I work for a Utility company. Person Accounts seems like a good idea for this. Skipping the (very important) storage issue, are there other reasons this might not be good for a Utility compan?
    April 26, 2021 10:02 am
    Patricia, I'm not the author, but still will try to reply to your question. I hope you don't mind. 1) This article contains interesting references to "dangerous" use cases (like the current state of your org). 2) On top of what you will find in this article and the (very important) storage issue, there may be a lack of AppExchange support in some case BUT it is Salesforce design proposal and I would always advise to go with the tide and not try to be too clever... We're talking about SaaS here and Salesforce is in charge of the roadmap (what's coming next). Not us! So, careful before accepting a non-standard way to do things. :)
    Patricia D Boyce
    April 26, 2021 3:02 pm
    Thanks, Fabrice I think I have given up on Person Accounts as a solution. I've turned my thoughts to some sort of Household Accounts (like NPSP or Health Cloud). Little more than an Account Record Type, with maybe some automation to create the Fabrice Household Account when Fabrice contact is created with no company. Still thinking about all of this. I don't want to create confusion and any complexity. Just get the right way to enter Contacts who are just residential customers. I got a little confused by your answer. But I took away confirmation that Person Accounts somewhat go agains the tide.
    July 21, 2021 2:05 pm
    My new client is not using Person Accounts and they have one Account called Consumers with 314 related Contacts. The activity timeline is very large and so when opening an Account it can time-out because it needs to load all the related activity records. If I was to extract all the related Contact data and import as Person Accounts, what happens to the Activity timeline? And I would also need to migrate the related Opportunities to the new Person Account as long as I can identify them via the related Contact Roles.
    July 29, 2021 11:23 pm
    Hi Patricia, I think Fabrice was saying that Person Accounts are what Salesforce intended to be used for B2C so this would be going with the tide. Making your own solution would be going against the tide. Salesforce is inclined to build things based on its current designs which you would hope includes Person Accounts for those who are using it.
    Ronald Rios
    October 03, 2021 12:02 am
    Easy way to determine if Person Accounts will work for your org or not. If you will ever have more than one contact per account (many-to- one) or more than one payment type per contact, Person Accounts are NOT for you. I worked on a project to move an org from it had severe limitations. On the other hand, if you have relatively simple needs, this P.A. model might work for you.
    Juanjo Velasco
    October 06, 2021 3:20 pm
    Hi, I'm facing this situation: I have a process builder on contact that check the HasOptedOutOfEmail field (among others) to update other fields of the contact record. When I modify in a Person Account the PersonHasOptedOutOfEmail field , the contact.HasOptedOutOfEmail reflects that change, as expected, but the contact process builder is not triggered. Any light on how to deal with this situation? Thanks in advance, and thanks for the site and making this a bit more understandable.
    Jaime de Viajes BIDtravel
    October 07, 2021 7:32 pm
    Hi Juanjo, any process builder related to person accounts must be done on the account object It will not work on the contact object
    Axel Hoffmann
    October 08, 2021 10:29 am
    When I query the account name in Process Builder, it always returns Null for a Person Account, while for a Business Account the field is filled. In an Apex trigger it is the same behavior. In a SOQL query in the Data Loader, the field is filled in both cases. This causes additional problems when using Person Accounts, since you have to work with a case distinction everywhere. However, I don't quite understand the background here. Any suggestions?
    Jaime de Viajes BIDtravel
    October 08, 2021 3:51 pm
    Hi Axel, I have had this problem using APEX. You have to work with firstname and lastname fields, you cannot use properly the field "name" on person accounts
    October 17, 2021 7:01 pm
    This is a great article! Thank you very much for posting this. If all Process Builders and Workflows of Accounts are triggering when a Person Account is created, will this also happen with Record Triggered Flows on Account object? Thank you
    October 22, 2021 2:47 pm
    Hi, I have the same question. The creation of a person account would trigger a flow that is triggered on a contact creation ? - Thank you
    Lisa Paynter
    November 05, 2021 6:28 pm
    Hi Patricia, I also work for a utility who uses salesforce. Did you figure out a solution?
    Jordyn Jaffer
    November 10, 2021 3:09 pm
    Hello Sandra - here is some information on how you can do this:
    Jordyn Jaffer
    November 10, 2021 3:14 pm
    Hello Nika and Pablo - I believe at this time that Contact and Account triggers will not work for Person Accounts. You will need to have unique triggers for Person Accounts outside of what you may have built for the Contact and Account objects.
    Jordyn Jaffer
    November 10, 2021 3:17 pm
    As a follow-up to this, if you refer to Jaime's comment above, you should be able to build automations/triggers on the Account object for Person Accounts but not on the Contact object.
    December 01, 2021 8:22 am
    It seemed to me that the weight of opinion online was against person accounts. That said, many businesses have corporate and individual customer types - person accounts work well in these cases! :)
    December 14, 2021 3:20 pm
    Hi, I am planning for a student community where students can apply for a grant. The number of applying students per academic year should be limited to max 500. This will be based on experience cloud and it is my intention to enable Person Accounts as this seems the best fit. But reading the remarks above makes me wonder if that would be a good idea. Any thoughts? Thank you
    Jordyn Jaffer
    December 26, 2021 3:43 pm
    Hello Stef, In the case of higher education and using experience cloud, I would recommend that you use person accounts. That is exactly what we were using at Northeastern when we deployed a community through experience cloud and it worked great for our use case. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks, Jordyn Jaffer
    Paige Sine
    December 30, 2021 6:09 pm
    How are the person account and contact merged? Is there an identifying field that joins them together? I am working to create a person account through a form integration tool and am stuck on how to create a contact and account that are merged as a person account.
    Ray Pearce
    February 07, 2022 11:10 pm
    What are the alternatives to person accounts if any? If I have a person, Mighty Joe Young, who can interact with us as a consumer, as a smaill business owner, and as an employee (or contact) of one of our busines customers. What is the current recommended way of supporting Joe who is one person that has three customer contexts. When person-accounts first came up they didn't look like they supported this but then my Salesforce knowledge is 3-4 years out of date now.
    March 22, 2022 2:10 pm
    Hi, I'm having a problem to relation a Contact to multiples PersonAccounts in Community Cloud. I just don't see how to do this relationship, the Accounts related list is unavailble in Contact object. Do someone knows where I could find a example?
    Kristen Obaid
    April 28, 2022 10:02 pm
    @Ray Consider exposing the Account to Contact relationship Records in an object to understand the Contact’s relationships to every Account, eg many to many. This use case is for complex multi brand and multi product B2B often servicing SMEs and requires a CRM overhaul but can be worth it. This is an alternate to purchasing and implementing other industry specific clouds, like Health.
    Kristin Johnson
    August 04, 2022 8:51 pm
    Hi Ronald - Can you give detail on WHY. We have both B2C and B2B in our org. My gut says NO Person Accounts but when asked why, I have a hard time articulating other than i've seen it in past orgs and it was a mess and riddled with problems. Anything I can note with more definition?
    Bivush rizal
    August 10, 2022 1:58 pm
    I can see that person account has the mailing address field. However, when i first enabled it in my org, my page layout still had billing address and shipping address. I entered the same for both. And did a data export via data loader and could see billing address and shipping address populated. And the mailing country populated as well. Can i still use the same billing and shipping address as that of business accpunts for person account or should be using the mailing address field.? I was wondering what is a good practice for the address field on person acc.
    Emeline Simmering
    May 22, 2024 2:19 am
    thanks to the author for taking his time on this one.

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