Leader – Act upon early signs of promise.

But whatever its future – or, for that matter, wherever you stand on the hype-versus-reality argument when it comes to the vast sums surrounding web start-ups – the business playing field has changed. The e-volution offers accountants perhaps their best chance to show publicly they are more than the number crunchers that outdated stereotype would like them to remain.

Just last week, three start-ups attracted FDs from established companies: Quaker Oats, Scottish biochemicals firm Axis-Shield and textile group Worthington lost out to, respectively, Hemscott.NET, hotel internet venture Articulate Solutions and Health-Media.Net.

In these and other cases, accountants are being sought to bring sound business sense to a sector where sometimes it seems profile matters more than profit. They are being offered the opportunity to set the ground rules – something other business professionals would envy.

And it is not just individuals who can and should benefit. This week sees the English ICA relaunch Webtrust, a ‘seal of approval’ for websites that meet strict conditions of good business practice.

But take nothing for granted. Like the whole sector itself, let’s hope these early signs of promise are acted upon.

Related reading