UK Payroll and HR Glossary

Don’t know your HRIS from your HRMS? Discover the meaning of the latest UK payroll and HR terms and abbreviations with this free glossary.


Accrual An accrual is when expenses, losses, and liabilities haven’t yet been recorded in the accounts. It can also mean when revenues and assets have been earned but not yet recorded. Provision is always made for accruals at the end of each accounting period.

ADP® Founded in 1949, with over 1,000,000 clients in 140+ countries, ADP is an innovator in payroll, HR and human capital management (HCM) solutions for customers of all sizes, across multiple sectors.

AI AI, or artificial intelligence, is the development of computer systems able to perform tasks that humans can. These include intelligent recommendations, speech recognition, and decision-making based on data input.

API An API or application programming interface is a tool to enable technology products and services to communicate with each other over the internet. Using APIs, ADP offers connections to customers’ inhouse or third-party human capital management (HCM) solutions.

Application An application, or app, is a software program which performs a specific function, either for users or for another app. Applications use a computer operating system and system software to function. They include word processors, web browsers and communication platforms.

Assets Assets represent what a business owns that can be converted into cash. They can include cash, investments, money owed, supplies, equipment, land or buildings. They can also be patents or trademarks. To appear on a balance sheet, assets must have a measurable value.

Attendance services Attendance services are automated solutions to track employee attendance to minimise productivity loss and monitor absenteeism. Having readily accessible data helps businesses pinpoint workforce trends before they become issues. Then they can take action accordingly.

Audit An audit is when an independent and official third party, such as HMRC, examine a company’s accounts to prove a company’s health. Sometimes, audits are used to uncover mistakes or wrongdoing, including fraud. Businesses might have periodic audits.

Automated time solutions An automated time solution is a software-based method for keeping track of employees’ time, rather than doing it manually. The benefits are saving time and eradicating manual errors, while simultaneously managing staff leave, absences, and benefits faster.

Automatic enrolment Since October 2012, every UK employer must now automatically enrol their eligible workers into a workplace pension scheme, helping employees to save for retirement, while employers contribute too. Employees must be between 22 and State Pension age, earn over £10,000 a year and work in the UK.

Automation Automation is a technological process that reduces human intervention. Business process automation is when technology enables automation to accomplish a specific business function, such as automatically processing payroll.