External Account Hierarchy

External Account Hierarchy (introduced in Salesforce Summer ‘20 release) allows the customers to share records between the community users of one company to community users of another company. This can be an extremely useful feature if your customers and/or partners have parent-child companies, and you want to share the child company records with the parent companies.

For example, let’s say that you have a dealer called “United Gas”, headquartered in Singapore. This dealer has subsidiary companies in UK, India, Thailand, Philippines etc. and you want to share the records created by community users of United Enterprises UK (subsidiary) with the community users of United Enterprises Singapore (HQ). 

External Account Hierarchy is created by adding records to “External Account Hierarchy” object and defining the parent account for child accounts. It is only available to Partner and Customer users so relevant Community Cloud licenses are required to use this functionality. Note: Once this feature is enabled, it cannot be disabled.  

External Account Hierarchy Limitations

Some of the important limitations to note of this feature are:

  • Child account data is shared with the highest role only at each level (immediate parent account) within the hierarchy.
  • There can be a maximum of up to five levels in the hierarchy
  • Supported for only business accounts, does not work with person accounts
  • Accounts used in an external account hierarchy can’t be merged with another account
  • The hierarchy can consist of only one account type, either partner or customer, but not both
  • A customer or partner account can be a part of only one active external account hierarchy at a time

Since Salesforce has introduced a new way of sharing records, it sparked an instant curiosity to learn more about this feature, hence the guide. Within the next 15-20 minutes, you will learn how to set up the External Account Hierarchy and how external account data sharing works. After going through this guide, you will learn how to:

  • Enable External Account Hierarchy
  • Create External Account Hierarchy Record & Levels
  • Test Record Sharing in External Account Hierarchy


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