ANYONE who wishes to study business can soon do so for free through an eight-week online course.

The "Discovering Business in Society" programme, which has no pre-requisites, will be launched next Monday on online learning platform FutureLearn. It is a collaboration between global accountancy body, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), and the UK-based University of Exeter Business School as well as FutureLearn.

At the end of the programme, participants can choose to pay a fee to take part in an examination. Those who pass the examination can claim exemption from the ACCA paper, "Accountant in Business", allowing them to use the examination as a first stepping stone to becoming a qualified ACCA accountant.

However, the course, which will cover principles guiding how businesses function, is not simply targeted at people who are looking for a career in accountancy.

Leong Soo Yee, head of ACCA Singapore, said the "all-encompassing" course "can be a way for someone looking to begin their journey into the finance profession with ACCA, but equally it could be useful to anyone in Singapore or any other country seeking to start a business to get a better understanding of what's involved, or a parent looking to return to work with a new set of skills".

Ms Leong added: "Because it is entirely online, anyone in the world with access to the Internet can study it, even though it is delivered by a prestigious UK university."

So far, 5,000 people have registered for the introductory course. Registrations are still open at:www.futurelearn.com/courses/discovering-business-in-society .