After levelling off in October, the short-term and mid-term ACI readings both rose in November, with the short-term reading just barely nudging into positive territory.

The ACI, published in partnership with ADP, is a monthly economic indicator that leverages the insights of accountants into the strength and prospects of businesses in the U.S. The 3-Month ACI came in at 50.19, up significantly from 48.74 last month, and above the 50 mark that separates expectations of growth from expectations of contraction. The 6-Month ACI, meanwhile, hit 53.53, well up from 52.04.

The index components were mixed, with most of the uptick attributable to modest increases in expectations for small-business client growth, and a big jump in expectations for large-business clients -- both, no doubt, influenced by hopes for the holiday sales season.

The ACI is created from a monthly poll of the Accounting Today Executive Research Council, an online community of more than 1,500 tax and accounting professionals.