What’s New and What’s Lacking for Person Accounts in Salesforce Lightning

If you’re using Person Accounts and considering moving to the Lightning Experience you might be wondering what features are supported, and which ones arent? This post will cover the specifics.

What’s Available Now

Generally speaking most Person Account features are available in the Lightning Experience today. Person Account support in Lightning first started in the Summer ’17 release, and has continued to gain momentum.

You can:

  • Mass email Person Accounts
  • Use email templates with merge fields
  • Merge Person Accounts
  • View related records (including Assets in Spring ’18)
  • Email Person Accounts by using an email action while on the Case record feed or Person Account feed

Finally, one major feature release relating to email integration (called Lightning Sync, although you don’t need to be using the Lightning Experience to use it) is the ability to sync Person Accounts in Salesforce to Google Contacts/Exchange Contacts!

What’s Lacking

There are a few gaps for Person Accounts in Lightning. One is the Person Account Setup, which you currently have to switch back to Classic to manage. This isn’t a big deal from my perspective, as it only affects admins. The other area lacking is the Update Action. You can create a Global Create Action to create a Person Account. This is really slick and allows you to create Person Accounts from the upper right hand corner in Salesforce, or from your inbox in Lightning for Outlook/Gmail. Updating Person Accounts via an action is a different manner, and you cannot build an Update Action for Person Accounts. This really limits you from being able to edit Person Accounts easily from areas such as a Related Record Lightning Component or even the Feed section of the Person Account. The Feed section is a crucial area in the Lightning Experience, and is where you land by default on the page layout. It’s very common (and a best practice) to have an Update Record action in the Feed to be able to update crucial fields without having to click into the Details or the Edit button on the record. Based on feedback from Cari Aves I want to point out that the Update Action isn’t available in Classic either. It’s not specific to Classic or Lightning, but as I mentioned above I’d argue that Actions are much more important part of the user experience in Lightning.

According to the Salesforce documentation,

When creating custom quick actions, fields specific to person accounts (such as Email or Mobile) aren’t available in action layouts for the Update a Record action type.

Even if an Update Action was allowed for Person Accounts it is a bit sticky when dealing with Cases. You will need to have one Related Record Lightning Component for Business Contacts and another, separate component for Person Accounts. Ideally, you would simply have one component. In a recent project we built a custom Lightning Component that supported both Person Accounts and Business Contacts, where either types of records could be searched and related to the Case, or created and related to the Case. The fields that show in the component are dependent upon whether the record is a Person Account or Contact. We used Lightning Flow to guide the user in the creation of a Business Contact or Person Account, using business language they understand!

If you don’t want to use Related Record Components you can search for or create Person Accounts from the Account Name field in the Details section of the Case. To accomplish this click into the Account Name field and click “+ New” at the bottom of the search list. Then you are prompted to select what type of Account you would like to create. After you create the Person Account it fills in the Account Name field on the Case with the Person Account Name. However, the Contact Name field on the Case is not automatically filled in! This can be problematic if you have the Contact Name field required because you also Service Business Contacts with Accounts.

What has your experience been working with Person Accounts in Lightning? Share in the comments below!

Resources: Considerations for using Person Accounts


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