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What Is an Ad Hoc Report?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 15 September 2014
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An ad hoc report is a report a person creates in response to a specific request for information, rather than at set intervals or as part of routine reporting. Supervisors can request such reports for a variety of reasons and usually provide a time frame for completion, such as a request that the report be submitted by the end of the business day. Tools to assist with creation of such reports are available, depending on the nature of the business and the request.

The Latin phrase “ad hoc” means “for this,” referencing the idea that the report is commissioned for a particular purpose, and covers a specific topic. A request for an ad hoc report may involve internal information such as sales data, employee performance, and so forth. It can also include external information, like data on changing market conditions, consumer expectations, and other topics. When a request for an ad hoc report is made, it should include a detailed discussion of what is expected on the report.

Secretaries and other administrative personnel are usually tasked with this kind of work. They collect data from company databases and outside research like reviewing trade publications and news reports. Software programs often have templates people can use to quickly generate reports. These may tie in with databases to allow for the generation of charts, graphs, and other visual presentations of data, drawing directly on the database rather than forcing the person to create the presentation from scratch.

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Some reasons to ask for an ad hoc report can include exploratory plans to launch new products and services, preliminary market research, and preparation for overhauls of business practices and plans. In all cases, initial data will act as a guide for personnel who need to make decisions about how to proceed. The ad hoc report can identify particular issues and will highlight activities to pursue or avoid. For example, the report may show that industry standards are about to change, making it unwise to invest in a system designed to facilitate compliance with existing standards, because the company would need to upgrade in the near future.

While an ad hoc report is ordered within a short time period, it still needs to comply with professional presentation standards. This includes proofreading for typos, mistakes, and readability, formatting the document properly, and following any internal standards set by the company for issuing reports. Having a template can help with this, as it is possible to slot information into the template to make sure the report follows a familiar overall structure.

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