I have a lookup field on account - for other accounts - Name: Account Parent Tiered OBJ

How do I check in Process Builder that it's actually empty?

Using the Global Constant NULL

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or: IS Null true

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both returned the wrong answer [there always seem to be some value there]

  • As debug, I tried to get the id/name/any value form the 'so called not null obj', but I get error:

The record couldn’t be saved because it failed to trigger a flow. A flow trigger failed to execute the flow with

So yea, it is NULL, but I just can't understand how to check for it.

  • My process

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  • Error report:
 An error occurred at element myRule_1_A1 (FlowRecordUpdate).
The flow failed to access the value for myVariable_current.Account_Parent_tiered_Obj__r.Name because it hasn't

been set or assigned.

This report lists the elements that the flow interview executed. The report is a beta feature.
We welcome your feedback on IdeaExchange.

Flow Details
Flow Name: test_account_parent_obj
Type: Workflow
Version: 3
Status: Active

Flow Interview Details
Interview Label: test_account_parent_obj-3_Account
Current User: Saar Machtinger (00520000000vhNm)
Start time: 12:54 11/01/2016
Duration: 0 seconds

How the Interview Started
Saar Machtinger (00520000000vhNm) started the flow interview.
Some of this flow's variables were set when the interview started.
myVariable_old = 00120000006zEWSAA2
myVariable_current = 00120000006zEWSAA2
RecursiveCountVariable = 0.00

ASSIGNMENT: myVariable_waitStartTimeAssignment
{!myVariable_waitStartTimeVariable} Equals {!Flow.CurrentDateTime}
{!myVariable_waitStartTimeVariable} = "12:54 11/01/2016"

DECISION: isChangedDecision2_myRule_1_ParentId
Executed this outcome: isChangedRule_2_myRule_1_ParentId
Outcome conditions: and
1. {!myVariable_old} (00120000006zEWSAA2) Is null false
2. {!myVariable_old.ParentId} (null) Does not equal {!myVariable_current.ParentId} (00120000003rB3xAAE)
Logic: All conditions must be true (AND)

DECISION: isChangedDecision4_myRule_3_ParentId
Executed this outcome: isChangedRule_4_myRule_3_ParentId
Outcome conditions: and
1. {!myVariable_old} (00120000006zEWSAA2) Is null false
2. {!myVariable_old.ParentId} (null) Does not equal {!myVariable_current.ParentId} (00120000003rB3xAAE)
Logic: All conditions must be true (AND)

DECISION: myDecision
Executed this outcome: myRule_1
Outcome conditions: and
1. {!isChangedRule_2_myRule_1_ParentId} (true) Equals true
2. {!myVariable_current.ParentId} (00120000003rB3xAAE) Is null false
3. {!myVariable_current.Account_Parent_tiered_Obj__c} (null) Is null true
Logic: All conditions must be true (AND)

NOTE: I do not have a default value on the field.

  • no field udpates or flows using this field

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  • 1
    Global constant work for me. Can you check if there is any other criteria which is failing. It will be great if you can post screenshot of your process.
    – Himanshu
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 9:23
  • 1
    @Saariko I have checked both of ways, and they are working. Are you sure that there are no another flows/triggers/processes that may handle it?
    – kurunve
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 9:36
  • @kurunve did you check with a Lookup field? - other regular fields work fine for the checks
    – Saariko
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 10:50
  • 1
    @Saariko yes, I have checked on lookup from account to custom and standard field
    – kurunve
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 10:59
  • @Saariko So, that always returns you null even if that is not null?
    – kurunve
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 11:15

4 Answers 4


Try using the "Formula evaluates to true" option to check for null with the following formula:

[Account].Account_Parent_Tiered_OBJ__c  = null
  • 1
    This behavior kind of seems like a bug. Is this approach still the recommended one?
    – Adrian Larson
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 23:27
  • 1
    I think the issue turned out to be that the condition was wrong, not that the "is null" check was buggy -- see the accepted answer. Commented Sep 27, 2016 at 3:15
  • Best Practice should be ISBLANK([Account].Account_Parent_Tiered_OBJ__c). I tried = null but the rule just sneaked passed by PB rule
    – compski
    Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 10:21

Always check your conditions - and than check them again, or just rewrite the process.

My error resided in the simple solution: The condition #3 that I used, was wrong. Instead of asking for: Account->Account_Parent_tiered_Obj__c - I had to filter by: Account->Parent->Account_Parent_tiered_Obj__c

The lesson really is to recheck your criteria.


I faced the exact same problem with Process Builder and then the following solution helped.

Whenever we are referring a related record in Process Builder we should put a NULL value check for that field as the first condition in filter criteria.

Then use "Customize the Logic" e.g. (1 AND 2 OR 3) So if 1 fails the process will not go further.

Regards, Rosh


Well, I've just experienced a similar issue, but it's not exactly the same as yours.

In my case, the cause of the error was that I set the condition if the id of referenced record is null. I had to set if the field itself is null.

When we set the condition such as "[Parent].Child__c.Id isnull Boolean True", we'll get an error because "Child__c" is not set and the process failed to get its "Id".

So we have to set the condition like "[Parent].Child__c isnull Boolean True" instead.

This "Child__c" wasn't shown up with its label, but with its API name, so I couldn't find at the first time, but "Child(Label)>" was there. It's confusing.

  • is it just me, but I cant just pick "[Parent].Child__c" the builder forces me to pick a field too.
    – manza
    Commented Jan 17, 2018 at 0:20

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