UPDATE 1-GE takes $4.2 bln charge, restates earnings

(Adds detail about restatement)

NEW YORK, April 13 (Reuters) - General Electric Co said on Friday it will take a charge of $4.24 billion in the first quarter and reduce earnings over the last two years by 30 cents a share, figures in line with expectations the company set earlier this year when it said it would comply with new accounting standards.

The maker of power plants, jet engines, medical devices and other industrial goods had estimated the after-tax, non-cash impact would be about $4.2 billion, plus reduced earnings for 2016 and 2017 of about 29 cents a share. The changes do not affect GE's cash flow or its earnings estimate for 2018, analysts said.

The as-expected figures suggest that GE executives have gotten to the bottom of the accounting issues and could bolster confidence in Chief Executive Officer John Flannery after a series of financial surprises, including underestimating the impact of insurance policies that prompted a $6.2 billion charge in the fourth quarter.

The new accounting standards govern how companies estimate and recognize revenue from long-term contracts, and is designed to make a company's cash flow more closely match its income, accounting experts and analysts said.

The prior standard allowed companies to recognize future revenue from such agreements more quickly. The new standard shifts revenue to later in the contract duration, analysts said.

Companies typically use the cost of providing services as a basis for estimating future revenue from the contracts, but the process can lead to over- or under-estimating the value of the contracts as assets on the balance sheet, experts say. (Reporting by Alwyn Scott Editing by Bill Rigby)