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Fitting The Bill How to select a small-business accountant who measures up.

By Conrad Theodore

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As the end of the year approaches, new goals and dreams for nextyear take shape. But no matter how successful or disappointing 1997was for you, you can't leave it behind yet--Uncle Sam won'tlet you forget. So begins your first business decision of the year:Do you keep your own business records and file your own returns orhire someone else?

"It's very difficult and time-consuming to keep up withall the new tax laws and technical jargon," says PeterPfister, a CPA at Kurchin & Co. in Red Bank, New Jersey."By hiring a professional, the business owner can better usehis or her talents to the fullest and concentrate on growing thebusiness."

It's an important decision; don't make the mistake ofdoing the job badly or hiring the wrong person to do it foryou.

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