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Why email alerts are not sent to account owner of a custom object?

Knowledge Article Number 000004449

We have an email alert set up on a workflow or an approval process. Amongst the recipients we put the account owner, but the account owner does not receive the alerts.

It happens in two scenarios:

  1. The custom object is linked to the account via a lookup to opportunity.
  2. The custom object is linked to the account directly via a lookup field.

An email notification is sent only when there is a Master-Detail relationship between the account and the custom object (the account is the master). This is the designed system behavior.

A lookup relationship does not suffice. Only Master-Detail relationship can guarantee one (and only one) related account. In this case, the custom object has no owner and thus the account owner is used for being an email alert recipient.  This example could apply to any object that is served by a lookup field not a Parent Child (Master-Detail) relationship.

NOTE: When changing table relationships and field types please consult Help and Training to ensure you keep the desired data integrity.

For more details when you can use the account owner in email alerts see Help & Training article: Creating Email Alerts for Workflow, Approvals, or Milestones

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