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PersonAccount alternative

We've been working on an app that incorporates PersonAccounts but we've run into a problem.  It's not possible create packages containing components that reference PersonAccounts.

We took the PersonAccount route because we will have both organizational and individual "customers" and we want their records to be peers for the purposes of reporting and association with opportunities.

Given that we can't package PersonAccount packages we began to wonder why we couldn't just create a new Account record type of "Individual" and create some supporting custom fields (i.e. first name, last name, email, etc...) and then create two page layouts: one tailored to Organizations and one tailored to Individuals.

Clearly SF could have done this too instead of creating the hybrid PersonAccount structure but we're not sure why, although I imagine there's a good reason.  Can anyone explain or offer concrete reasons why we one shouldn't add custom "individual" fields to the account object and have two record types?


C-Stance JoelC-Stance Joel
I realize that this post is close to two months old, but I thought I'd reply just the same.  The reason that there is the specific record type of Person Account is to blend the account and contact into a single record.  If you just used the account on it's own you wouldn't be able to take advantage of much of the built in functionality of Salesforce.com.  An example of this is when you want to use the "Mass Email Contacts" if you don't use person accounts you won't be able to include any of these new "Individual"accounts you just created - only contacts.  My using person accounts you will be able to include them in the "Mass Email Contacts" list.  This extends to Customer Portal, Self Service Portal and Partner Relationship Management as well.  This would also extend to other vendors for email like VerticalResponse and ExactTarget (and likely others).  I hope this helps.