User Roles and Permissions

Help Scout offers 3 different user roles: the Account Owner, Administrators, and Users. Current Plus and Company plans can also set custom permissions on individual Users. Here we will discuss what each role means, the default permissions for each, and how to change permissions or roles. 

In this article

User Roles and Their Default Permissions

These are the default settings for permissions in Help Scout. See Add or Remove Permissions for the details on changing roles or permissions.  

Account Owner

The Account Owner has access to everything in your Help Scout account. Only the Account Owner can change the Help Scout plan or view and change the billing information, and only the Account Owner is able to modify permissions for the Administrator role. Each Help Scout account only has one Account Owner, and the person who signs up for the account is the Account Owner by default. If you need to pass ownership to another team member, you can transfer it within your account. See Transfer Account Ownership for the details. 


Administrators have access to everything but the billing information. An Administrator can access the Company settings, every Mailbox and its settings, every Docs site and its settings, and every User and their settings except the Account Owner. Your Plan is accessible to Administrators to view, but not change, the plan details. 


A User only has access to Mailboxes as specified. All conversations in a Mailbox that a User has access to are visible to that User but a User is not able to change Mailbox settings. They have access to create and edit articles on every Docs site, but cannot change the Docs site settings. In addition, Users are not able to create other Users or access User profiles.

Add or Remove Permissions

The Account Owner is able to add or remove permissions for the Administrator role and the User role. Administrators are able to add and remove permissions for the User role. Head to Manage > Company > Permissions to adjust these settings as needed. Permissions for Workflows, Custom Fields, and Teams are available to the Help Scout Plans that include those features. 

Below are all of the permissions available to add or remove for the Administrator role and the User role by the Account Owner: 


  • Manage Account: Billing and plan changes


  • Edit threads
  • Edit notes
  • Delete conversations
  • Delete notes
  • Delete notes
  • Manage workflows (available to Standard, Plus, and Company plans)
  • Manage custom fields (available to Plus and Company plans)
  • Manage saved replies


  • Manage views: Create, edit, delete
  • Export reporting data

Other Features

  • Tags: Edit, merge, delete
  • Teams: Create, edit, delete (available to Plus and Company plans)
  • Docs: Create new, edit settings and collections
  • Docs: Edit articles and categories
  • Delete customer profiles
  • Create custom user permissions (only available for the Account Owner to grant to the Administrator role on current Plus and Company plans)

Administrators can add or remove these same permissions for the User role, as long as that permission is available for the Administrator role. For example, if the Account Owner has chosen to not grant access to Manage Account: Billing and plan changes to the Administrator role, that permission will not be available for an Administrator to grant to the User role. 

Keep in mind whatever you select here will apply to all of the Help Scout users in that role and all mailboxes that they have access to. Current Plus and Company plan Account Owners can use custom permissions to change individual user settings. 

Change User Roles or Custom Permissions

The Account Owner and Administrators are able to change Users to Administrators. The Account Owner can transfer ownership by changing the role to Account Owner. 

Head to Manage > Users, and select the User to change.

Select Permissions from the left navigation menu. Change the Role by selecting a new role from the dropdown list. Note: Only the Account Owner will see the option to change to Account Owner.

The Account Owner on current Plus and Company plans can also set individual User permissions by choosing Custom under Feature Permissions then selecting the individual permissions for this User. The Account Owner can grant the Administrator role permission to this option under the Company Permissions as noted above.

Interested in Custom permissions? Your Account Owner can upgrade your plan to a current Plus plan by heading to Your Plan > Plans, or take a look at the Company plan for larger teams! 

Click the Save Profile button at the bottom of the profile page. You're all done when you see the green confirmation message! 

Common Questions

Who owns a Help Scout account?
The person registered as the Account Owner is the owner. To protect your account, only the Account Owner can transfer ownership to another team member.

What happens if the Account Owner is not available?
If the Account Owner has left the company without transferring ownership, you can initiate a password reset to the Account Owner's email address and reset that password, then log in as the Account Owner and transfer ownership. You may need to request access to or a reactivation of that email from your IT department or email admin. If you are unable to complete that process, give us a shout!

Who can update the credit card or change plans?
By default, only the Account Owner can update the payment method or make changes to the plan. The Account Owner may choose to grant permission to Manage Account: Billing and plan changes to Administrators and/or Users. 

Can I prevent Users from replying to conversations or adding notes?
If a User has permission to a mailbox, that User is able to reply to or leave notes on any conversation in that mailbox. There is no method to restrict individual conversations. 

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