The third monthly edition of our Accountants Confidence Index showed declines in accountants' outlook for the future -- a slight one for the short term, and a more serious decline for the mid-term. 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 ACI reading for this month dropped by seven-tenths of a point, while the 6-Month ACI dropped by more than a point and a half.

Survey participants lowered their growth expectations in every category except for the mid-term outlook for small businesses. They also expressed less optimism about the U.S. economy in the mid-term, expecting a mild contraction.

In this month's survey, we also asked the ERC about their firms' use of mobile technology; some of the result appear below.

The ACI is created from a monthly poll of the Accounting Today Executive Research Council, an online community of more than one thousand tax and accounting professionals, who are asked to provide their estimates of the growth prospects of their own firms, their small, midsized and large business clients, and of the U.S. economy as a whole. Their responses are weighted and averaged to produce the ACI.