Quickbooks Online REST API V3 - Ruby
Latest commit 9ce907e Jan 18, 2017 @ruckus Revert "Upgraded to latest version of OAuth gem (0.5.1); TravisCI: ad…
…ded Ruby 2.3 and removed 1.9.3 and 2.0.0; Nokogiri 1.7 requires Ruby >= 2.1"

This reverts commit 22c8df5.



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Integration with Quickbooks Online via the Intuit Data Services v3 REST API.

This library communicates with the Quickbooks Data Services v3 API, documented at:

Data Services v3

Changes in 0.1.x from 0.0.x

0.1.0 introduced a backwards-incompatible change in how boolean attributes are handled. As of 0.1.0 any boolean like:

xml_accessor :active?, :from => 'Active'

will be accessible via active?. Thereby eliminating custom code like:

def active?
  active.to_s == 'true'

Now a call to active? that is not set will return nil. Otherwise it return true / false. Moreover, there is no longer a getter method e.g. active (without the trailing ?).


This has been tested on 1.9.3, 2.0, 2.1, 2.2

Ruby 1.8.7 and 1.9.2 are not supported.



  • oauth
  • roxml : Workhorse for (de)serializing objects between Ruby & XML
  • nokogiri : XML parsing
  • active_model : For validations

Sandbox Mode

An API app provides two sets of OAuth key for production and development. Since October 22, 2014, only Sandbox Companies are allowed to connected to the QBO via the development key. The end-point for sandbox mode is https://sandbox-quickbooks.api.intuit.com.

By default, the gem runs in production mode. If you prefer to develop / test the integration with the development key, you need to config the gem to run in sandbox mode:

Quickbooks.sandbox_mode = true

Getting Started & Initiating Authentication Flow with Intuit

What follows is an example using Rails but the principles can be adapted to any other framework / pure Ruby.

Create a Rails initializer with:


    :site                 => "https://oauth.intuit.com",
    :request_token_path   => "/oauth/v1/get_request_token",
    :authorize_url        => "https://appcenter.intuit.com/Connect/Begin",
    :access_token_path    => "/oauth/v1/get_access_token"

To start the authentication flow with Intuit you include the Intuit Javascript and on a page of your choosing you present the "Connect to Quickbooks" button by including this XHTML:

<!-- somewhere in your document include the Javascript -->
<script type="text/javascript" src="https://appcenter.intuit.com/Content/IA/intuit.ipp.anywhere.js"></script>

<!-- configure the Intuit object: 'grantUrl' is a URL in your application which kicks off the flow, see below -->
intuit.ipp.anywhere.setup({menuProxy: '/path/to/blue-dot', grantUrl: '/path/to/your-flow-start'});

<!-- this will display a button that the user clicks to start the flow -->

Your Controller action (the grantUrl above) should look like this:

  def authenticate
    callback = quickbooks_oauth_callback_url
    token = QB_OAUTH_CONSUMER.get_request_token(:oauth_callback => callback)
    session[:qb_request_token] = token
    redirect_to("https://appcenter.intuit.com/Connect/Begin?oauth_token=#{token.token}") and return

Where quickbooks_oauth_callback_url is the absolute URL of your application that Intuit should send the user when authentication succeeds. That action should look like:

def oauth_callback
    at = session[:qb_request_token].get_access_token(:oauth_verifier => params[:oauth_verifier])
    token = at.token
    secret = at.secret
    realm_id = params['realmId']
    # store the token, secret & RealmID somewhere for this user, you will need all 3 to work with Quickbooks-Ruby

NOTE: If you are using Rails 4.1, you will need to wrap the token in Marshal.load and Marshal.dump:

session[:qb_request_token] = Marshal.dump(token)
Marshal.load(session[:qb_request_token]).get_access_token(:oauth_verifier => params[:oauth_verifier])

⭐️ Also, check out regular Quickbooks-Ruby contributor, minimul's, article Integrating Rails and QuickBooks Online via the version 3 API for a step-by-step guide along with screencasts.

Creating an OAuth Access Token

Once you have your users OAuth Token & Secret you can initialize your OAuth Consumer and create a OAuth Client using the QB_OAUTH_CONSUMER you created earlier in your Rails initializer:

access_token = OAuth::AccessToken.new(QB_OAUTH_CONSUMER, string_access_token_from_qb, string_access_secret_from_qb)

Persisting the Credentials

Most likely you will want to persist the OAuth access credentials so you don't have to connect to QBO each and every time.

The access credentials are valid for 180 days. 30 days before they expire, they can be renewed. You'll need to keep track of the expiration date and manage the renewal process yourself.

An example database table would have fields likes:

access_token varchar(255),
access_secret varchar(255),
company_id varchar(255),
token_expires_at datetime # Set to 180.days.from_now upon insertion

Then you will want to have a scheduled task which runs nightly looking for records where('token_expires_at < ?', 30.days.from_now) and then performs the renewal:

expiring_tokens.each do |record|
  access_token = OAuth::AccessToken.new(QB_OAUTH_CONSUMER, record.access_token, record.access_secret)
  service = Quickbooks::Service::AccessToken.new
  service.access_token = access_token
  service.company_id = record.company_id
  new_token = service.renew

  case new_token.error_code
  when "0" # Success
    # Update the stored values
      access_token: new_token.token,
      access_secret: new_token.secret,
      token_expires_at: 180.days.from_now.utc,
    puts "Renewal succeeded"
  when "270" # The OAuth access token has expired.
    # Discard any saved credentials, need to restart the OAuth process
      access_token: nil,
      access_secret: nil,
      token_expires_at: nil,
    puts "Renewal failed"
  when "212" # Token Refresh Window Out of Bounds
    # Tried to renew it more than 30 days before expiration
    puts "Renewal ignored, tried too soon"
    puts "Renewal failed, code: #{new_token.error_code} message: #{new_token.error_message}"

For simplicity, this example does not encrypt the access credentials. If you are developing an app and plan on publishing it to Intuit's marketplace you will need to encrypt the credentials to comply with their security requirements. We'd suggest looking at the attr_encrypted gem to handle the actual encryption and decryption.

Getting Started - Retrieving a list of Customers

The general approach is you first instantiate a Service object based on the entity you would like to retrieve. Lets retrieve a list of Customers:

service = Quickbooks::Service::Customer.new
service.company_id = "123" # also known as RealmID
service.access_token = access_token # the OAuth Access Token you have from above

# Equivalent to Quickbooks::Service::Customer.new(:company_id => "123", :access_token => access_token)

customers = service.query() # Called without args you get the first page of results

# yields

customers.entries = [ .. array of Quickbooks::Model::Customer objects .. ]
customers.start_position = 1 # the current position in the paginated set
customers.max_results = 20 # the maximum number of results in this query set

Under the hood Intuit uses a simple SQL-like dialect for retrieving objects, the above no-arg use of query() issued a Select * From Customer.

You can issue your own query by passing the complete and valid query as the first argument:

customers.query("Select Id, GivenName From Customer")

Each Entity has different fields you can retrieve & filter on. Refer to Intuit documentation for details.


Do not pass pagination parameters in your query - pass them as additional options, using :page and :per_page:

# to use the default query
customers.query(nil, :page => 2, :per_page => 25)

# to use a custom query: find customers updated recently and only select a few attributes
query = "Select Id, GivenName From Customer Where Metadata.LastUpdatedTime>'2013-03-13T14:50:22-08:00' Order By Metadata.LastUpdatedTime"
customers.query(query, :page => 2, :per_page => 25)

Querying in Batches

Often one needs to retrieve multiple pages of records of an Entity type and loop over them all. Fortunately there is the query_in_batches collection method:

query = nil
Customer.query_in_batches(query, per_page: 1000) do |batch|
  batch.each do |customer|
    # ...

The first argument to query_in_batches is the query (which can be nil to retrieve the default items in that collection). If you're are running a custom Query then pass it instead.

The second argument is the options, which are optional. By default, the options are per_page: 1000.

Retrieving all objects

You may retrieve an array of objects like so:

customers = service.all

Unlike other query functions which return a Quickbooks::Collection object, the all method returns an array of objects.

Retrieving a single object

You can retrieve a specific Intuit object like so:

customer = service.fetch_by_id("99")
puts customer.company_name
=> "Acme Enterprises"

Retrieving objects with matching attributes

The find_by(attribute, value) method allows you to retrieve objects with a simple WHERE query using a single attribute. The attribute may be given as a symbol or a string. Symbols will be automatically camelcased to match the Quickbooks API field names.

customer = service.find_by(:family_name, "Doe")
customer = service.find_by("FamilyName", "Doe")

Updating an object

By default updating an object will un-set any attributes that are NOT specified in the update request. That is, the update is NOT sparse by default. Thus, be careful as you might accidentally unset attributes that you did not specify.


# fetch a Customer to change their name
customer = service.fetch_by_id("99")
customer.company_name = "Neo Pets"

In the above example since we retrieved all fields and then just changed a single attribute, we have given the "complete" entity back to Intuit and effectively only the name is changed.

If you don't have the complete object on hand and only want to change a couple of attributes without un-setting what you are not specifying than you want to use a sparse update:

# update a Customer's name when we only know their ID
customer = Quickbooks::Model::Customer.new
customer.id = 99
customer.company_name = "New Company Name"
service.update(customer, :sparse => true)

Reference Setters

Some models require a reference to be set, to a Customer, or an Item, etc. In the Quickbooks API these references are labeled via a property like CustomerRef. In quickbooks-ruby the assignment of these references is done by using the setter on the _id property.

For example, to specify a Customer with ID 99 on an Invoice you would do this:

invoice = Quickbooks::Model::Invoice.new
invoice.customer_id = 99

This will automatically set a CustomerRef XML packet with a value of 99.

SalesReceipts & Ship Methods

The QBO API documentation states that SalesReceipt has a ShipMethodRef attribute. Normally, all attributes of a Ref type take an pseudo-integer argument, representing the foreign ID, which in turn point to a valid object with that ID.

I say pseudo because they look like Integers but Intuit has made it clear they should be handled as strings.

Anyways, its subtle but the value for a SalesReceipt#ShipMethodRef while it is a BaseReference needs to be set manually:

shipping_reference = Quickbooks::Model::BaseReference.new('FedEx', name: 'FedEx')
receipt.ship_method_ref = shipping_reference

Generating an Invoice

A complete example on generating a basic invoice:

# Given a Customer with ID=99 lets invoice them for an Item with ID=500
invoice = Quickbooks::Model::Invoice.new
invoice.customer_id = 99
invoice.txn_date = Date.civil(2013, 11, 20)
invoice.doc_number = "1001" # my custom Invoice # - can leave blank to have Intuit auto-generate it

line_item = Quickbooks::Model::InvoiceLineItem.new
line_item.amount = 50
line_item.description = "Plush Baby Doll"
line_item.sales_item! do |detail|
  detail.unit_price = 50
  detail.quantity = 1
  detail.item_id = 500 # Item ID here

invoice.line_items << line_item

service = Quickbooks::Service::Invoice.new
service.company_id = "123"
service.access_token = access_token
created_invoice = service.create(invoice)
puts created_invoice.id
=> 234

Notes: line_item.amount must equal the unit_price * quantity in the sales detail packet - otherwise Intuit will raise an exception.

Generating an Invoice containing a Bundle

Example (code fragments) of adding a bundle line item, to an invoice:

items = service.find_by(:sku, 'AHH_SWEETS')
bundle = items.entries.first
# be sure to check if you found the bundle you want
# ...

line_item = Quickbooks::Model::InvoiceLineItem.new
  line_item.description = bundle.description

  line_item.group_line_detail! do |detail|
    detail.id = bundle.id
    detail.group_item_ref = Quickbooks::Model::BaseReference.new(bundle.name, value: bundle.id)
    detail.quantity = 1

    bundle.item_group_details.line_items.each do |l|
      g_line_item = Quickbooks::Model::InvoiceLineItem.new
      g_line_item.amount = 50

      g_line_item.sales_item! do |gl|
        gl.item_id    = l.id
        gl.quantity   = 1
        gl.unit_price = 50

      detail.line_items << g_line_item

  invoice.line_items << line_item

Emailing Invoices

The Quickbooks API offers a send invoice feature that sends the specified invoice model via email. By default the email is sent to the bill_email on the invoice. This feature returns an invoice model with updated email_status and delivery_info as shown below:

invoice = invoice_service.fetch_by_id("1")
sent_invoice = invoice_service.send(invoice)

puts sent_invoice.email_status
=> EmailSent
puts sent_invoice.delivery_info.delivery_type
=> Email
puts sent_invoice.delivery_info.delivery_time
=> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 18:56:04 UTC +00:00

It is possible to email the invoice to an altermate email address by including the email as a second parameter in the invoice.send method. When a new email address is provided the invoice model that is returned will have the bill_email set to the new email address as show below:

invoice = invoice_service.fetch_by_id("1")
sent_invoice = invoice_service.send(invoice, "name@domain.com")

puts send_invoice.bill_email.address
=> name@domain.com

Notes: Quickbooks has global company settings to customize the send invoice email message content and format.

Generating a SalesReceipt

#Invoices, SalesReceipts etc can also be defined in a single command
salesreceipt = Quickbooks::Model::SalesReceipt.new({
  customer_id: 99,
  txn_date: Date.civil(2013, 11, 20),
  payment_ref_number: "111", #optional payment reference number/string - e.g. stripe token
  deposit_to_account_id: 222, #The ID of the Account entity you want the SalesReceipt to be deposited to
  payment_method_id: 333 #The ID of the PaymentMethod entity you want to be used for this transaction
salesreceipt.auto_doc_number! #allows Intuit to auto-generate the transaction number

line_item = Quickbooks::Model::Line.new
line_item.amount = 50
line_item.description = "Plush Baby Doll"
line_item.sales_item! do |detail|
  detail.unit_price = 50
  detail.quantity = 1
  detail.item_id = 500 # Item (Product/Service) ID here

salesreceipt.line_items << line_item

service = Quickbooks::Service::SalesReceipt.new({access_token: access_token, company_id: "123" })
created_receipt = service.create(salesreceipt)

Notes: In order to auto-generate transaction numbers using salesreceipt.auto_doc_number!, the 'Custom Transaction Numbers' setting under Company Settings>Sales Form Entry must be unchecked within the Quickbooks account you are posting to.

Deleting an Object

Use Service#delete which returns a boolean on whether the delete operation succeeded or not.

=> returns boolean

Email Addresses

Email attributes are not just strings, they are top-level objects, e.g. EmailAddress on a Customer for instance.

A Customer has a setter method to make assigning an email address easier.

customer = Quickbooks::Model::Customer.new
customer.email_address = "foo@example.com"

Telephone Numbers

Like Email Addresses, telephone numbers are not just basic strings but are top-level objects.

phone1 = Quickbooks::Model::TelephoneNumber.new
phone1.free_form_number = "97335530394"
customer.mobile_phone = phone1

Physical Addresses

Addresses are also top-level objects, so they must be instantiated and set.

address = Quickbooks::Model::PhysicalAddress.new

address.line1 = "2200 Mission St."
address.line2 = "Suite 201"
address.city = "Santa Cruz"
address.country_sub_division_code = "CA" # State, in United States
address.postal_code = "95060"
customer.billing_address = address

Batch Operations

You can batch operations such creating an Invoice, updating a Customer, etc. The maximum batch size is 25 objects.

How to use:

batch_req = Quickbooks::Model::BatchRequest.new

customer = Quickbooks::Model::Customer.new
# build the customer as needed

item = Quickbooks::Model::Item.new
# build the item as needed

batch_req.add("bId1", customer, "create")
batch_req.add("bId2", item, "create")

# Add more items to create/update as needed, up to 25

batch_service = Quickbooks::Service::Batch.new
batch_response = batch_service.make_request(batch_req)
batch_response.response_items.each do |res|
  puts res.bId
  puts res.fault? ? "error" : "success"

For complete details on Batch Operations see: https://developer.intuit.com/docs/api/accounting/batch

Query Building / Filtering

Intuit requires that complex queries be escaped in a certain way. To make it easier to build queries that will be accepted I have provided a basic Query builder.

util = Quickbooks::Util::QueryBuilder.new

# the method signature is: clause(field, operator, value)
clause1 = util.clause("DisplayName", "LIKE", "%O'Halloran")
clause2 = util.clause("CompanyName", "=", "Smith")

service.query("SELECT * FROM Customer WHERE #{clause1} AND #{clause2}")


The Quickbooks API supports two different types of attachments, depending on whether you have an actual file to upload or just want to upload "meta-data" about an operation.

Meta-data only: use the Attachment service

meta = Quickbooks::Model::Attachable.new
meta.file_name = "monkey.jpg"
meta.note = "A note"
meta.content_type = "image/jpeg"
entity = Quickbooks::Model::BaseReference.new(3, type: 'Customer')
meta.attachable_ref = Quickbooks::Model::AttachableRef.new(entity)

Note: No actual file is being attached, we are just describing a file.

Uploading an actual file

upload_service = Quickbooks::Service::Upload.new

# args:
#     local-path to file
#     file mime-type
#     (optional) instance of Quickbooks::Model::Attachable - metadata
result = upload_service.upload("tmp/monkey.jpg", "image/jpeg", attachable_metadata)

If successful result will be an instance of the Attachable model:

puts attach.temp_download_uri

=> "https://intuit-qbo-prod-29.s3.amazonaws.com/12345%2Fattachments%2Fmonkey-1423760870606.jpg?Expires=1423761772&AWSAcc ... snip ..."

Download PDF of an Invoice or SalesReceipt

To download a PDF of an Invoice:

service = Quickbooks::Service::Invoice.new # or use the SalesReceipt service

# +invoice+ is an instance of Quickbooks::Model::Invoice
raw_pdf_data = service.pdf(invoice)

# write it to disk
File.open("invoice.pdf", "wb") do |file|

Change Data Capture

Quickbooks has an api called Change Data Capture that provides a way of finding out which Entities have recently changed, as deleted entities will not be returned by a standard query. It is possible to request changes up to 30 days ago.

The primary method for querying to ChangeDataCapture is through Quickbooks::Service::ChangeDataCapture.

Quickbooks::Model::ChangeDataCapture also supports parsing the XML response into a hash of entity types through the all_types method.

service = Quickbooks::Service::ChangeDataCapture.new
# define the list of entities to query
entities = ["Invoice", "Bill", "Payment"] #etc
changed = service.since(entities, Time.now.utc - 5 days)
# parse the XML to a list of Quickbooks::Models
changed_as_hash = changed.all_types

Deleted entities can be found in the XML by checking their @status is "Deleted". In the return from the all_types method, deleted items will be of type Quickbooks::Model::ChangeModel.

see: https://developer.intuit.com/docs/0100_quickbooks_online/0200_dev_guides/accounting/change_data_capture for more information.

ChangeModel alternative Change Data Capture For Invoices, Customers, Vendors, Items, Payments and Credit Memos

It is possible to get a sparse summary of which Invoice, Customer, Vendor, Item, Payment or Credit Memo Entries have recently changed. It is possible to request changes up to 30 days ago.

service = Quickbooks::Service::InvoiceChange.new
changed = service.since(Time.now.utc - 5 days)
customer_service = Quickbooks::Service::CustomerChange.new
customer_changed = customer_service.since(Time.now.utc - 5 days)
vendor_service = Quickbooks::Service::VendorChange.new
vendor_changed = vendor_service.since(Time.now.utc - 5 days)
item_service = Quickbooks::Service::ItemChange.new
item_changed = item_service.since(Time.now.utc - 5 days)

see: https://developer.intuit.com/docs/0100_quickbooks_online/0200_dev_guides/accounting/change_data_capture for more information.

Reports API

Quickbooks has an API called the Reports API that provides abilities such as: business and sales overview; vendor and customer balances; review expenses and purchases and more. See the specs for examples of how to leverage.

JSON support

Intuit started the v3 API supporting both XML and JSON. However, new v3 API services such as Tax Service will only support JSON. This gem has roots in the v2 API, which was XML only, and hence was constructed supporting XML only.

That said, the Tax Service is supported and other new v3-API-JSON-only services will be supported. Ideally, we would like to fully support JSON for all entities and services for the 1.0.0 release. Please jump in and contribute to help that aim.


Quickbooks.log = true

By default, logging is directed at STDOUT, but another target may be defined, e.g. in Rails

Quickbooks.logger = Rails.logger
Quickbooks.log = true
# Pretty-printing logged xml is true by default
Quickbooks.log_xml_pretty_print = false


While logging is helpful the best debugging (in my opinion) is available by using a HTTP proxy such as Charles Proxy.

To enable HTTP proxying you pass in :http_proxy when you generate your OAuth Consumer:

$qb = OAuth::Consumer.new($consumer_key, $consumer_secret, {
    :site                 => "https://oauth.intuit.com",
    :request_token_path   => "/oauth/v1/get_request_token",
    :authorize_path       => "/oauth/v1/get_access_token",
    :access_token_path    => "/oauth/v1/get_access_token",
    :proxy => ""

Entities Implemented

Entity Create Update Query Delete Fetch by ID Other
Account yes yes yes yes yes
Attachable no no no no no
Bill yes yes yes yes yes
Bill Payment yes yes yes yes yes
Class yes yes yes yes yes
Company Info n/a n/a yes n/a yes
Credit Memo yes yes yes yes no
Customer yes yes yes yes yes
Department yes yes yes yes yes
Deposit yes yes yes yes yes
Employee yes yes yes yes yes
Entitlements no no no no no
Estimate yes yes yes yes yes
Invoice yes yes yes yes yes
Item yes yes yes yes yes
Journal Entry yes yes yes yes yes
Payment yes yes yes yes yes
PaymentMethod yes yes yes yes yes
Preferences n/a no yes n/a yes
Purchase yes yes yes yes yes
Purchase Order yes yes yes yes yes
Refund Receipt yes yes yes yes yes
Sales Receipt yes yes yes yes yes
Sales Rep no no no no no
Sales Tax no no no no no
Sales Term no no no no no
Tax Agency yes yes yes yes yes
Tax Code no no yes no no
Tax Rate yes yes yes no no
*Tax Service yes yes no no no
Term yes yes yes yes yes
Time Activity yes yes yes yes yes
Tracking Class no no no no no
Vendor yes yes yes yes yes
Vendor Credit yes yes yes yes yes

*JSON only

Related GEMS

quickbooks-ruby-base: Complements quickbooks-ruby by providing a base class to handle routine tasks like creating a model, service, and displaying information.

qbo_rails: Simple Rails error handling and QuickBooks Online "Id" persistence. Uses quickbooks-ruby.


  • Implement other Line Item types, e.g. DescriptionLineDetail for Invoices
  • Full JSON support


Cody Caughlan


quickbooks-ruby has been a community effort and I am extremely thankful for all the amazing contributors.


The MIT License

Copyright (c) 2013

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.