To find out if a table is empty you can use DLookup. If DLookup returns a null value when the field you specify is required, then there are no records in the table. (an autonumber field works well here, if your table has one).
If IsNull(DLookup("AFieldThatCantBeNull","SomeTable") ) Then
'table is empty
Initially you asked for the record count. If that's what you really want, you can easily get the record count using DCount rather than DLookup.
Dim lngSomeTableRecordCount As Long
lngSomeTableRecordCount = DCount("AFieldThatCantBeNull","SomeTable")
Although if you need to open the recordset anyway, to process the records you find, then I'd stick with the Database/Recordset approach, like you had in the first place.