These days, success isn't just about working hard. It's more about working hard and efficiently. So why not apply that strategy to your investments?

To measure a company's efficiency, you can examine its return on equity (ROE): its profit margin, multiplied by its asset turnover, further multiplied by its financial leverage. ROE measures how efficiently the company employs its owners' capital -- your bang per buck as an investor. Take Philip Morris International (NYSE: PM) or Accenture (NYSE: ACN), both of which boast ROEs of 50% or more. That's a lot of concentrated bang.

Companies can juice their ROE by employing more debt, so it's important to consider a company's debt level when looking at ROE. All things being equal, though, the higher the ROE, the better: A higher ROE means a more efficient company, which in turn means a more effective executive team managing the business. You should consider companies like these for your portfolio.

To uncover some of the most efficient companies around, I ran a screen using The Motley Fool's CAPS screening tool. I looked for companies with:

  • CAPS ratings of four and the maximum five stars. The high ratings indicate the companies are more likely to outperform the market.
  • ROEs of 25% or greater.
  • Market caps of $500 million or greater, to keep us out of microcap land.

Here are eight companies that I like:

Company

Return on Equity (TTM)

Market Cap
(in Billions)

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

3M (NYSE: MMM)

26.6%

$61.8

****

Accenture

53.1%

$25.4

****

Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO)

28.6%

$126.6

****

Diamond Offshore Drilling (NYSE: DO)

36.2%

$8.5

****

Heinz

46.7%

$14.5

****

ICICI Bank (NYSE: IBN)

29.8%

$21.7

*****

PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP)

31.3%

$103.7

*****

Philip Morris International

134.0%

$94.5

*****

Data from Motley Fool CAPS. TTM = trailing 12 months.

While the stock screener is a great tool, it should be only the first step in your research. Examining other levers of specific companies, such as return on invested capital, liquidity, and debt-to-equity ratios, will also help you determine if a company is right for your portfolio. When you include those other metrics in your analysis, you'll get a fuller picture of whether that company is worth buying.

Start increasing the efficiency of your investments at Motley Fool CAPS today. Let the collective wisdom of our 165,000-member-strong community help you make better investing decisions. It's free.

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Fool contributor Jennifer Schonberger does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this article. You can follow her on Twitter. Accenture, Coca-Cola, and 3M are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Philip Morris International is a Global Gains recommendation. H.J. Heinz, Coca-Cola, and PepsiCo are Income Investor recommendations. Motley Fool Options has recommended a call position on PepsiCo. The Fool owns shares of Coca-Cola. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.