There is an interesting debate going on between the three main accounting designations here in Canada - CA (Chartered Accountant), CMA (Certified Management Accountant), and CGA (Certified General Accountant) about the value or not of a merger of two or all three organizations.
Having spoken to audiences at conferences, professional development days and several chapters of all three, it is clear that merging is not going to solve all the challenges that accountants and for that matter many service professionals face - namely differentiation.
In fact if they end up doing a hodge podge of meregers only in some provinces and only some designations the picture may get very much more cloudy than clear.
In the end the designations on their own are not enough.
Unless you have sat down with an accountant and heard their explanation of their designation it is very likely that most people would not know the difference and the benefits of one over the other. BUT their buying decision might already be made, at least for a shortlist of who to use or hire.
This is because the general perceptions are that all (accomplished) accountants are at the very least - accurate, honest and analytical - regardless of designation. so the choice becomes much more about the individual accountants personal brand and the emotional connections one makes to that person. Are you looking for a FUN accountant, or CARING or QUIRKY?
It might only be when you find a FUN CA, CMA and CGA that the designation becomes important - at least to the buyer.