Our Accountants Confidence Index remained positive but dipped even closer to contraction, with the short-term outlook particularly grim.

The ACI, created 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 and 6-Month ACI readings for this month were both on the positive side of 50, which is the divider between growth and contraction. The 3-Month ACI came in at 50.04, down from 50.55, while the 6-Month ACI hit 51.64, down from 52.03.

Many of the individual index components actually dipped into contraction -- the panel was particularly pessimistic about the short-term prospects for small and large businesses -- but they were actually a little more optimistic about midsized businesses.

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.