We recently enabled person account on our org but when I use eclipse to refresh the metadata components. I don't see a person account entry in the objects sub folder.

I'm wondering if that is suppose to be there or is Person account a special object? Underneath Account?

  • 3
    My recollection is that turning on person accounts adds contact fields to account with a __pc suffix. So I would expect there to just be an Account.object file but with more fields in it.
    – Keith C
    Oct 20, 2014 at 18:07

3 Answers 3


A Person Account is a special type of account. In the underlying database, they are represented as an account and a contact, but in the UI they will appear as one record with its own unique layout. The distinguishing feature of a person account is its "record type." An account with a Person Account record type (also, the IsPersonAccount flag set to true), is a person account. This simplifies reporting, because you can report on them as accounts or contacts, and you can use them anywhere you could use an account or contact (such as lookup fields, etc). The specific value that will be held in the lookup field will match the ID for the type of record it is; account lookups will use 001... and contact lookups will use 003... Of course, there are certain limits as to what these accounts may do, but in general, they behave as the appropriate record for whatever type they need to be. No new object will appear, but the metadata for objects/Account.object will change to reflect the new record types and fields, and layouts/*.layout will add new layouts appropriate to the the new record types.

  • 1
    additionally: I'm not sure if this is the case in the object metadata, but in the API most contact fields will show under the account as field__pc. Oct 21, 2014 at 8:32

When you enable person accounts, it means that every contact will have an account. There is no new person account object that gets added. In essence, every time you add a contact, you're also adding an account for that contact. The two become nearly indistinguishable.

For more, you may want to look at Implementing Person Accounts. Some things of the more noteworthy items would include:

  • Person account functionality is permanent and cannot be reverted. For example, after person accounts have been enabled, the list of account fields that you can access from Setup at Customize > Accounts > Fields will always include contact fields.
  • As a prerequisite, an administrator must have defined at least one account record type before salesforce.com can enable person accounts for your organization.
  • Before conversion, there must be a one-to-one relationship between each business account record and its corresponding contact record. Furthermore, fields common to both records such as Owner and Currency must have identical values.
  • After conversion, the new person accounts will have unique one-to-one relationships with the contact records that formed them. As is true for all person accounts, no other contacts can be associated to a person account
  • Person accounts are accounts that support contact fields and capabilities.
  • Person accounts have unique page layouts that can have account fields, contact fields, account custom links, account related lists, and contact related lists.
  • Person accounts page layouts do not support the Reports To and Parent Account fields.
  • Person accounts only appear in account search results. Administrators can add the Is Person Account icon to account search layouts in order to differentiate person accounts from business accounts.
  • Contact sharing is not available if you have enabled person accounts. The organization-wide default for contacts is set to Controlled by Parent and is not editable.
  • If your organization has customized your contact sharing settings and you want to enable person accounts, change your organization-wide default for contacts to Controlled by Parent, which removes all your contact sharing rules and manually shared contacts.
  • Person accounts count against both account and contact storage because the API considers each person account to consist of one account as well as one contact.

If you activate Person Accounts, the Account will gain a couple of fields, which are normally found at the Contact object:

screenshot from the workbench

The Account also gains two record types (Business Account, Person Account). Person Accounts can also be distinguished by the field IsPersonAccount.

If you create a new Account, you are presented with the record type selector first. If you chose to create a Person Account, the system creates an Account and a Contact record. Updating a Person Account will also update the fields at the associated Contact and vice versa.

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