Accounting Today released its inaugural Accountants Confidence Index today, revealing that the accounting profession has serious concerns about the state of the economy. 

The results of the initial survey, conducted in late August, indicate that accountants expect flat or low growth over the next three months, with an index reading of 52.91 on a scale of one to 100, where one equals a significant decline or contraction, 50 equals flat or no growth, and 100 equals extremely strong growth. The 417 survey participants were slightly more optimistic about the mid-term, with a six-month ACI reading of 54.33.

The accountants were most optimistic about the outlook for their own firms, with a reading of 59.12 for the short term and 62.61 for the mid-term, and least optimistic about the outlook for the economy as a whole, where they actually predicted a contraction - 47.51 for the short term, and 49.99 for the mid-term.

They were also pessimistic on the employment front, with two thirds (66.4 percent) predicting that the U.S. economy won't begin producing significant numbers of new jobs for at least two years.

The ACI, created in partnership with ADP, is a new monthly economic indicator that leverages the insights of accountants into the strength and prospects of businesses in the U.S. It 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. Participants 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.

Industry professionals who would like to join the Executive Research Council and participate in the ACI survey can visit www.research.accountingtoday.com/welcome or the Accounting Today Facebook page to learn more.

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