When a company keeps poor records or no records at all, the chances of it failing are doubled, according to one-third of the 177 Utah certified public accountants who recently responded to a statewide poll conducted for the Utah Association of CPAs by Dan Jones & Associates.

"If you're interested in having your company make a profit, you can't just `wing it," said Roger Pinnock, association president. "By keeping detailed records, you force yourself to constantly evaluate where you are in comparison to where you want to be."One of the other questions asked in the poll dealt with which of the first steps involved in opening a new business are most often ignored or neglected. The most commonly cited step was preparing cash flow projections and break-even service. The next most mentioned item was a business plan.

Some of the other highlights of the poll were:

- When asked how long it typically takes before a new small business in Utah begins making a profit, 49 percent said two years. Thirty-two percent said one year, 1 percent said one month, 7 percent said six months, 8 percent said three years and 2 percent said more than three years.

- When asked if any specific government entity is guilty of imposing excessive regulations on small business, 81 percent said the federal government, 63 percent said state government, 18 percent said county government and 14 percent said local government.

- When asked to describe the state of the Utah economy, 45 percent of the CPAs said the economy is on the path of slow but steady improvement. Thirty-nine percent said it's unlikely to change much in the near future and 11 percent said it's on a path of slow but steady decline. Only 2 percent said the Utah economy is on the verge of a drastic decline.