Understanding People Types - Contacts and Individuals

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People come in various shapes and sizes, and that's as true in Practifi as it is in real life! We provide you with two different types of records that represent people in the system, so that you can choose the right one for the job:

  • Contacts are a simpler type of record that is only ever thought of as a member of a household or organization, which is the entity your firm does their business with directly.
  • Individuals are people who your firm has a relationship with independent of any household or organization. They might not be part of a household or organization at all, and instead be managed as an entity in their own right, however they can also comfortably exist as a member alongside other contacts and individuals.

Choosing a person type

When deciding whether to capture someone as a contact or individual, think about whether your firm has a direct business relationship with that person. These direct relationships are kept in Practifi as definitions, and the ability to add definitions to a person - as well as unlock all the functionality they include - is the major difference between contacts and individuals.

As an example: typically the spouse of the primary member in a household is stored as a contact because the firm deals with the household as a singular entity, however if that person has investments separate to the household which you also manage, then you'd want them to be an individual so that they can be defined as a client with their own deals, services and assets.

Creating new records

The system selects default people types for you based on where the person is being captured:

  • When creating a new household or organization member - such as from the Create a Household/Organization global actions, or the Add New Member record page actions - these members are created as contacts.
  • When creating a person in isolation - such as from the Create an Individual global action - these people are created as individuals.

Record page differences

The need for additional features on the individual record page also means that the record pages for each person type are quite different. Contacts, being simpler by nature, have a single-column layout that's always viewed as a subtab within its parent household or organization:

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Individuals on the other hand are often accessed directly from app pages such as Directory, Clients and Pipeline, and are given their own workspace tab by default:

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If they're also a household or organization member, then they'll appear in member lists on those record pages too, and opening the individual from there will do so as a subtab, as it does for contacts:

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If you open an individual as a subtab but would rather give the record its own workspace, click the mceclip0.png arrow in the subtab to access its menu, and use the Set as Workspace Tab action.

Switching between types

Relationships can change over time, and someone you originally created as a contact may need to become an individual in the future. When this happens, the Convert to Individual action ensures the person and their related records are converted safely:

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mceclip0.png Please note that this action is non-reversible; individuals cannot be converted back into contacts.

Additional considerations

  • The Remove from Household & Organization actions are only available to individuals, as contacts cannot exist independently of a parent entity. To remove a contact, convert it into an individual first.
  • When using either the Add to Household/Organization or the Add Household/Organization Member actions to make an existing individual into a member of a household or organization, you'll be asked a question: "Do you want to move this person's definitions - such as client, prospect and influencer - to their new household/organization?" If the user opts to move definitions, then that Individual will be converted into a Contact as a part of the transition.
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