Is it an Account? Is it a Plane? It is neither and both!

It is a point of great debate amongst both users and partners as to what precisely an Account is within Dynamics. So I ask you this, what is an Account?

Before I give my opinion, let’s begin with a bit of a history lesson. When Dynamics was first released to the market, it was very much operating in the business to business space, and it made sense that an account was a company.

Looking through the earlier versions of dynamics there was a common theme on the account record….

Everything on the account was geared towards it being a company. Microsoft positioned the Account as the company record again due to early versions of Dynamics being built mainly for the business to business space. For me, this made sense, however, times have changed, and Dynamics is no longer aimed towards business to business sales and has entered the world of business to consumer or as I prefer business to customer. Is your customer a business, though? But what does this mean for the account entity?

Regardless of whether you are selling to a business or an individual, you are always dealing with people or in Dynamics terms the Contact. But how does this change the purpose of the Account?

I am glad you asked!

To me, the Account entity is simply a grouping of people or contacts if you will that have a relationship with each other. This could be colleagues in the sense of a company, family members who are in the same household or even a group of friends. This opens up a tremendous amount of flexibility by changing your mindset on what an Account is.

A few examples of how this can be put in to practice:

Example 1 – Business to Business – Stationery

You are selling stationary to a company and are engaging with an office secretary. You are discussing the needs of the organisation. The secretary is, however, unable to place the order as all orders must go through the procurement officer. Yet the delivery is handled by the facilities head.

In this example, the three people involved have a relationship of colleagues.

Example 2 – Business to Consumer – Travel Insurance

Mr Smith, Mrs Smith and their two children Jane and John, are going on holiday and require travel insurance. Mr Smith is purchasing the insurance on behalf of the family, but in order to provide the cover, you need the details of everyone named on the policy.

In this example, the people involved are not a company but in fact a family. They are a grouping of people that have a relationship.

So in closing, I put it to you that an Account is a grouping of people. Remember that…….

people deal with people

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