How To Create a Xero Python Pipeline with PyAirbyte

10 min read
April 24, 2024

Data integration from Xero to various analytics platforms can be fraught with challenges, including managing API rate limits, handling authentication, and ensuring data integrity and consistency.

PyAirbyte emerges as a powerful solution to these challenges, offering a simplified and efficient approach to building Xero data pipelines. By abstracting away the complexities of direct API interaction and providing a user-friendly interface for configuring and managing data extractions, PyAirbyte reduces development time and maintenance efforts. This enables businesses to quickly leverage their financial data for deeper insights and decision-making.

Traditional Methods for Creating Xero Data Pipelines

In the landscape of data integration, constructing pipelines from accounting software like Xero into data warehouses, databases, or other analytics tools has been a nuanced challenge for developers and data engineers. Conventionally, this involves writing custom Python scripts that interact with the Xero API to extract data and then load it into the desired destination. This approach, although flexible, comes with its own set of challenges.

Custom Python Scripts

The most traditional method for creating data pipelines involves developers writing custom scripts. This process requires a deep understanding of the Xero API, authentication mechanisms (like OAuth), and handling API rate limits. Developers must map out the data schema within Xero, ensuring the script correctly calls the necessary endpoints for the data needed, handles pagination, and processes any errors or exceptions gracefully. After extraction, the data must then be transformed (if necessary) and loaded into the target system, which could range from SQL databases to cloud data warehouses like Amazon Redshift or Google BigQuery.

Pain Points in Extracting Data from Xero

Extracting data from Xero presents specific challenges:

  • API Complexity and Rate Limits: The Xero API, while powerful, imposes learning curves and rate limits. Managing these rate limits effectively without hitting caps inadvertentlty can complicate script logic and execution schedules.
  • Data Consistency and Integrity: Ensuring the data extracted is accurate, and maintaining its integrity throughout the pipeline, involves meticulous error handling and validations. Even minor discrepancies or failures in these checks can lead to significant data integrity issues downstream.
  • Authentication Hurdles: Xero uses OAuth for authentication, which adds a layer of complexity in maintaining and refreshing tokens securely, especially when dealing with multiple Xero accounts.

Impact on Pipeline Efficiency and Maintenance

These challenges have a compounded impact on both the efficiency of the data pipeline and its maintenance overhead:

  • Increased Development Time and Complexity: Dealing with the intricacies of the Xero API and handling data correctly increases the upfront development time. It also adds complexity to the scripts, making them harder to maintain and update as the requirements evolve.
  • Scalability Concerns: As businesses grow, so does the volume and variety of data. Custom scripts that were efficient for smaller datasets or fewer integration points may not scale well, requiring significant rework.
  • Maintenance Overhead: APIs evolve, and so do business needs. Keeping up with changes to the Xero API, such as endpoint deprecations or authentication updates, can become a continuous maintenance burden. Furthermore, ensuring the pipeline's ongoing reliability in light of these changes demands constant vigilance and testing.

In sum, while custom Python scripts offer a direct route to creating data pipelines from Xero, they bring along considerable challenges. The complexity of the API, coupled with the maintenance and scalability concerns, can significantly hamper data pipeline efficiency. These factors make a compelling case for exploring alternative methods that can simplify the process, reduce the overhead, and provide more scalable solutions.

Implementing a Python Data Pipeline for Xero with PyAirbyte

Installation of PyAirbyte

pip install airbyte

This command installs the PyAirbyte package, a Python client for the Airbyte API, which enables developers to manage Airbyte resources programmatically, including connectors for various data sources and destinations.

Importing PyAirbyte and Configuring the Xero Source Connector

import airbyte as ab

# Create and configure the source connector:
source = ab.get_source(
     "authentication": {
       "client_id": "your_client_id_here",
       "client_secret": "your_client_secret_here",
       "refresh_token": "your_refresh_token_here",
       "access_token": "your_access_token_here",
       "token_expiry_date": "your_token_expiry_date_here"
     "tenant_id": "your_tenant_id_here",
     "start_date": "2022-03-01T00:00:00Z"

Here, the airbyte library is imported, and the get_source method is invoked to initialize a Xero source connector. Required authentication details and configuration settings (client ID/secret, tokens, tenant ID, and data start date) are specified for the Xero API. The install_if_missing=True argument ensures that if the Xero connector isn't found locally, it's automatically installed.

Verifying Configuration and Credentials


This command validates the Xero connector configuration and credentials, ensuring that the setup is correct before proceeding to data extraction.

Listing Available Data Streams


Fetches and lists all the data streams available from the configured Xero source, enabling the selection of specific streams for extraction.

Selecting Streams and Loading to Cache


# You could also selectively load streams:# source.select_streams(["stream1", "stream2"])

Selects all available streams for loading into the cache, though you have the option to select only specific streams if needed.

Reading Data into Default Cache

cache = ab.get_default_cache()
result =

Initializes the default local cache (DuckDB) and reads the selected streams from Xero into this cache. It highlights the pipeline's flexibility, allowing for customization of the cache, including options to use other databases or warehouses like Postgres, Snowflake, or BigQuery.

Loading Stream Data into a Pandas DataFrame

df = cache["your_stream"].to_pandas()

This line demonstrates how to load data from a specific stream stored in the cache into a Pandas DataFrame, ready for data manipulation or analysis. This step signifies moving data into a format that's widely used for data analysis, making it simpler to gain insights.

By using PyAirbyte to handle data extraction from Xero, you substantially reduce the complexity traditionally associated with API data integration. This method abstracts away much of the lower-level handling of API requests, authentication, and error management. It provides a more accessible and maintainable approach to extracting Xero data, streamlining the process of loading it into a cache or database for further analysis or integration with other datasets.

For keeping up with the latest PyAirbyte’s features, make sure to check our documentation. And if you’re eager to see more code examples with PyAirbyte, check out our Quickstarts library.

Why Using PyAirbyte for Xero Data Pipelines

PyAirbyte simplifies the development and management of Xero data pipelines by addressing several key pipeline challenges directly:

  • Easy Installation and Setup: PyAirbyte can be quickly installed through pip, making initial setup a breeze. The only prerequisite is having Python installed on your system. This ease of installation drastically reduces the entry barrier for developers and data engineers starting with data integration.
  • Configurable Source Connectors: Once PyAirbyte is installed, it offers seamless access to configure available source connectors including a wide range from databases to SaaS applications. This flexibility isn't just limited to pre-defined connectors; you can also introduce custom source connectors tailored to your specific needs, enhancing the adaptability of your data pipelines.
  • Selective Data Stream Processing: PyAirbyte enhances efficiency by allowing the selection of specific data streams for processing. This means you're not forced to extract all available data from Xero, which can conserve computing resources and streamline the overall data processing workflow, making it both more efficient and more manageable.
  • Flexible Caching Mechanisms: The platform's support for multiple caching backends, including DuckDB, MotherDuck, Postgres, Snowflake, and BigQuery, provides substantial flexibility. By default, PyAirbyte uses DuckDB as the cache, a lightweight database ideal for quick data manipulations and analyses. This multi-cache backend support enables PyAirbyte to seamlessly fit into a variety of tech stacks and use cases.
  • Incremental Data Reading: For handling large datasets efficiently, PyAirbyte can read data incrementally. This capability is crucial for not only reducing the data source load but also for ensuring that the pipelines are scalable and can handle growing data volumes without a proportional increase in resource consumption or extraction time.
  • Compatibility with Python Ecosystems: PyAirbyte's compatibility with various Python libraries, such as Pandas for data analysis and manipulation, or SQL-based tools for more traditional data management tasks, opens up vast possibilities. This compatibility makes it easy to integrate PyAirbyte into existing Python-based data workflows, whether they're for data analysis, orchestration, or even AI frameworks, ensuring a seamless data pipeline from extraction to insight generation.
  • Enabling AI Applications: By facilitating easy access to Xero data, transforming this data into useful formats, and allowing for efficient integration with Python's rich ecosystem of AI and machine learning libraries, PyAirbyte is particularly well-suited for powering AI applications. Whether it's for predictive analytics, financial forecasting, or any other AI-driven insights, PyAirbyte provides a robust foundation for AI applications utilizing accounting and financial data from Xero.


In this guide, we explored the complexities and challenges of building data pipelines from Xero and how leveraging tools like PyAirbyte can streamline this process. By simplifying the setup, offering configurable source connectors, selective data extraction, and flexible caching options, PyAirbyte addresses the core difficulties traditionally faced in Xero data integration.

This approach not only reduces the initial development effort and ongoing maintenance but also supports scalable, efficient pipelines that can grow with your data needs. The compatibility with Python's rich ecosystem allows for seamless data manipulation, analysis, and even the incorporation of AI and ML technologies, making it a versatile choice for many different applications.

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