Understanding People Types - Contacts and Individuals



Within Practifi, the system provides you with two different types of records that represent people that your firm will come in contact with. This flexibility helps ensure that the person's relationship and impact on your firm are captured appropriately. This article outlines the two different types of person records in your organization and the considerations around these records.

Choosing a Person Type

The two person record types you will encounter within Practifi are Contacts and Individual records.  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 with who your firm has a relationship independent of any Household or Organization. They might not be part of a household or organization and instead are managed as an entity in their own right. However, they can also comfortably exist as a member alongside other Contacts and Individuals.

When deciding whether to capture someone as a Contact or Individual, think about if the 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. Being simpler by nature, Contacts have a single-column layout that's always viewed as a subtab within its parent Household or Organization record.


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:


If they're also a Household or Organization member, then they'll appear in member lists on those record pages as well. Opening the Individual from this location will do so as a subtab, as it does for Contacts.


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 a drop-down menu and select the Set as Workspace Tab action.

Switching between Types

Relationships can change over time, and someone you created as a Contact may need to become an Individual in the future as their relationship to your firm changes. When this happens, the Convert to Individual action ensures the person and their related records are converted safely. This is selected from the page actions on the Contact record.


Once selected, you will be prompted with a pop-up menu asking you to confirm that you would like to convert this Contact to an Individual record. Select Next if you would like to proceed.


Please note: This action is non-reversible, meaning that Individuals cannot be converted back into Contacts.


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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