The Techopedia explains here, Ad Hoc reporting as "reports that are put together creatively by users in real-time, rather than pre-designed according to a template." and for "one-time reports that are done in a customised way, to provide results for one specific question or objective."
What it is that as the demands on businesses are incredibly varied, all the time, the business is being asked answers to specific questions which are hard to get from standard reports.
For example, a stationery supplier, might be asked by a customer can you get the BIC Australia pens that are about $6? Yes you could probably print a 20 report on BIC Australia and look through it, it can be done, but it is going to take time. Plus if the customer wants the purple one, it is going to take more time.
As a rough approximation, I would say 80% to 90% of your reporting needs are of this type. A person has to find a specific piece of information, an invoice on a date, which item had the $2.30 discount, who served a person who brought this item, etc.
Now if you ring your point of sale software provider, they might be prepared to add some options to do this, but it will take time by then the customer is long gone. Generally, Ad Hoc reports are needed now, and for single use only so it is not worth the time and effort to do it. In fairness to the developer of your POS System, there is a limit to the number of business questions that can be anticipated and programmed in advance. So the solution is that you spend some time, probably over a telephone call to your software expert and sweat it out.
This is what Ad hoc reporting helps as it allows almost unlimited flexibility enabling the information to be easily found instantly.
Let us do an example to show you the power of our software.
Above was a simple example; that I want the code of a stationery product that is about $6 for BIC Australia.
So what I could do is go to the register reports and select a full listing.
I now ask for BIC but note it does not have a question cost price, with ad-hoc reporting you do not need to worry as it is not required.
I then get this excel listing.
I go over the column labelled Wholesale price.
Press on the top Sort & Filter
Then press select turn off all the costs.
Then I click on all the costs that are about $6.
In this case, there is only one, and it is listed immediately here.
The code I wanted was 41330, pretty nifty. It took me about a minute.
Ad hoc reporting reaches beyond your static pre-defined software that traditional software provides, allowing you an enhanced interactive end-user experience.